Time-lapse Camera Deployment and Protocol Development

19 May 2017
Activity Name
Internship: Time-lapse Camera Deployment and Protocol Development


Biological information from commercial fisheries has traditionally been collected by technicians from fish at landing sites and from catch and effort data recorded in fishing logbooks. This data, particularly the catch and effort figures, may often be of low quality and not accurate. More detailed and objective set by set information can be obtained by trained and independent observers stationed on board vessels during the actual fishing operation.

Countries and management bodies such as the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RMFOs) typically have observer programs that aim to cover a specific percentage of a fishery. This data is then used to cross-reference port and logbook data.

The observer’s data collection responsibilities can vary depending on the fishery and type of vessel. In general, they are required to collect data that can be used in establishing stock distribution patterns, collect catch and effort data and biological information for stock assessments, record the use of various gear types on a vessel, record the associated by-catch and discard rates, collect information on fleet fishing patterns and collect detailed production data. The observer data set is now considered an important compliment to research survey data and port sampling data because it provides a source of information by area, time and species not often covered by the other two sources. Length, age, catch and effort data, all collected by observers, are now used regularly in stock evaluation studies. An important factor is also the identification and recording of interactions with any Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species and, when these interactions do occur, that a record is made of the fate of the ETP species.

Observers can only be deployed on vessels that can accommodate an additional person in a safe manner. Observers are covered by regulations from the management bodies and these must be adhered to ensure that the observer is safe and is adequately supported in collecting the required data. Consequently, it is recognized that observer deployments on small scale vessels are often not feasible.

Though small scale observer trips are not feasible due to safety, space and also prioritization reasons (MMAF budget is allocated to larger vessels), it has been identified that with increasing data regulations and anti-IUU regulations that small scale fisheries should be able to verify what happens aboard their vessels while at sea.

For this reason, MDPI aims to deploy some time-lapse camera technology, to act as a form of electronic monitoring on small scale vessels. These cameras will be deployed and will record landings on the vessels. The data collected through interview with MDPI enumerators at the dock, records the vessels interaction with ETP species. We aim to have the time-lapse camera data verify if the port collected information is reliable and if the interactions and landings which occur at sea match those that are reported on land.

1.     Deploying time-lapse cameras onboard small scale vessels

a.     Identify how the camera should be placed on the vessel to collect the highest quality and informational data

b.    Identify what security measures need to be in place to protect cameras

c.     Train field staff on camera deployment

2.     Producing a protocol for deployment

3.     Identifying suitable approaches to data storage

4.     Provide recommendations on which cameras and what approaches worked best / were easiest to deploy in small-scale fisheries settings

1.     Time-lapse camera deployment plan

2.     Time-lapse camera deployment protocol and staff training approach

3.     Time-lapse camera data storage and transfer approach

The time lapse project will be implemented over the period May 2017- March 2018.

The technical deployment and protocol development period is required to occur June- August 2017.


Follow-on will occur from September- January 2018, which will incorporate the biological analysis of the data- an additional intern will be required to complete this work.



Interns should meet the following requirements

  1. Be enrolled or have completed a technical degree Bachelor/Masters Engineering, IT, Technology or other related
  2. Have an interest in finding solutions to problems which occur in everyday life
  3. Have a practical and flexible approach to work
  4. Be willing to travel to remote areas in Indonesia
  5. Have strong report writing skills
  6. Have an interest in the environment
  7. Have a good level of English language skills


The intern will report to the Fisheries Improvement Manager and every Friday the intern will submit a short one page summary of their activities within the MDPI program to the supervisory team (weekly work report, as submitted by all team members as a means of progress evaluation and activity sharing). Short trip summaries will be made to describe periods spent in the field.


Benefits to Intern


Interns at MDPI receive a variety of benefits which include technical and social. Guidelines, requirments and benefits are outlined here.