The Queensland government has awarded AU$278,300 to two companies for automated fisheries monitoring under the Advance Queensland Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
Anchor Lab and Fish-e will develop systems that include location tracking, smart sensors, and image recognition of fish species. According to Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner, these systems will replace slow and costly logbooks with automated real-time monitoring and result in more accurate data.
"Automated technology will save fishers time and money by reducing the burden to record their daily catch and fishing effort in traditional hard copy logbooks," Furner said. "This innovative project has benefits for Queensland's commercial fishers, the government, and community.
"Fisheries Queensland will receive more accurate information in real time rather than waiting for logbooks to be sent in and data entered, giving the community greater confidence in the quality of data."
Fish-e is a Brisbane-based startup, while Denmark-based Anchor Labs will set up in Queensland to work with local contractors. The two will test their solutions over the next six months and will be eligible for an additional AU$500,000 to demonstrate proof of concept after 12 months.
The SBIR program aims to solve "unsolvable" government challenges by supporting innovators to research, develop, and test their solutions, according to the state government. It is open to any organisation able to deliver solutions to nominated challenges. Examples of which include supporting learning for students with disabilities in rural locations and real-time monoitoring of dust at underground coal mines, as well as electronic, automated monitoring of commercial fishing operations.
SBIR comes under the state's AU$180 million Advance Queensland initiative, first announced in the 2015-16 Budget by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, and including AU$24 million for Queensland-based startups.
"As a government, we know that the real driver of economic change are entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses," the premier said at the time.
"Every big corporate starts as an emerging business that took a chance. Startups can reshape entire industries through technology and business model innovation. They are vital to job creation and prosperity -- in fact, studies have found that each technology job created leads to five additional jobs in other sectors."
An additional AU$15 million over four years for the initiative was handed out under last year's Budget, which is being used to develop 10-year priority industry roadmaps and action plans.
The state's 2018-19 Budget is set to be released June 14.
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