Better transparency & better innovation = #BetterFishing!


One kiwi fisherman is changing the world through transparency and innovation.
Introducing Better Fishing. 
© Better Fishing

World First

Karl Warr, owner of Better Fishing, has become the first fisherman in the world to live-stream his catch on the internet. Many vessels are equipped with video cameras but the data is stored for viewing at a later date by particular parties. Karl, however, has taken transparency to the next level--by allowing anyone with an internet connection to view how the fish on their plate was caught. Karl has spent his life as a commercial fisherman based in Napier.

How is he doing this?

Karl has a camera on his boat which is fitted with technology from Nelson-based SnapIT. This allows real-time transparency through 24/7 video broadcast live on the internet.

This is a standard camera monitoring system but Karl’s camera has been adjusted to live-stream his video rather than store it. SnapIT’s technology is equipped with artificial intelligence, which will be able to identify individual fish species and classify vessel activities. The great news is this technology is available for other fishers to add to their boats, whether they decide to store data on board or take the extra step to live-stream their catch, like Karl.

With courage and by putting in the hard mahi, Karl and SnapIT, have made it possible to be completely transparent about how fish gets from the sea to your plate. Together, through transparency, it’s possible to create better fisheries management.


What you will see

There are different methods used in commercial fishing. Karl uses bottom trawling which is a net towed behind a fishing boat near the ocean floor.

WWF does not support bottom trawling in vulnerable marine ecosystems such as corals and other fragile structures and does not support trawling in new areas which could be vulnerable. Although bottom trawling is destructive, Karl has trawled the same area for over 20 years and catches fish that are found on the sandy floors, avoiding any underwater structures and does not trawl in any new areas. This project and the reason why WWF is involved, isn’t about the fishing methodology but rather the innovation leading to transparency and better fisheries management.
While our partners maintain the highest possible humane, legal and ethical standards, the website contains live, unedited images of food production that some viewers may find disturbing. By clicking the button above you agree that you are entering the website at your own risk.
Watch the live stream
© Better Fishing
© Better Fishing

Why is this innovation important?

Karl believes consumers should be able to make informed decisions, based on their personal values and choices, about the fish they put on their plates. So, he took the unprecedented step to provide a completely transparent view of commercial fishing.

Warr says transparent fishing is the way forward for him, both environmentally and financially. The camera, and its associated technology, enables him to demonstrate to consumers his commitment to sustainability and ethical practices, “The technology allows the public to see everything I do on my vessel. My goal is to engage with my community and customers as closely as possible by telling the story behind the production of their seafood.”

Why WWF thinks it’s important

Transparency is an important aspect of conservation, and technology is helping lead to a more sustainable fishing industry. This is the future of sustainable fishing. Done right, putting cameras on fishing boats would make it very hard to hide marine mammals or seabirds dying in fishing nets, and would really help to deter fish dumping. Equally as important, it would show beyond doubt when fishers are successfully avoiding bycatch. In effect, it levels the playing field for all fishermen, rewarding those engaged in best practice sustainability and ultimately excluding those who are not.

Karl Warr is taking this one-step forward by live-streaming from his vessel. Not every fisherman will be comfortable with a live-stream camera and that is okay. But we applaud Karl taking this courageous first step in order to show the world how fish gets to market.

We each have a role to play in the sustainable harvest of the seafood we consume. We all live with the consequences of food production, good or bad, depending on our purchasing decisions. When a consumer is informed, they’re empowered to make purchase decisions that will either reward or penalise a fisherman. However, this game changing technology is just one piece of the puzzle. In order to affect positive change, consumers, industry, and government need to collaborate on the future of fisheries management in New Zealand.
© Better Fishing