Otago Polytechnic
IT profile RimuBoddy 002 cropped

Transforming the fishing industry

Rimu Boddy is making New Zealand's Quota Management System easier to use, improving compliance, and adding value to the fishing industry.

Fisherman Rimu Boddy was dissatisfied with the way the quota management system worked in practice. It was not realistic to expect fishermen to complete a complex paper form every time they put the net out. Unsurprisingly, compliance was low, as low as 15%.

Rimu had an idea, that technology could be harnessed to improve the information flow, but he realised he needed to gain the skills to develop his idea. While studying for his Bachelor of Information Technology, Rimu kept his focus firmly on his plan which he had the opportunity to work on for his third year project. He understood he needed to make "something that users can actually use", which meant he needed to work through the messiness of applying the theory he was learning to his real world problem. By the time he graduated Rimu had a business model and working prototypes which had been tested on a fishing boat. The Ministry for Primary Industries, responsible for managing the quota system, was impressed, calling his work "a game changer".

In the four years since graduation Rimu has continued to pursue his idea, developing the connections and putting in a lot of hard work and his own money. The Upstart Incubation Trust has supported Rimu, and we've been proud to partner with him too, with other students helping Rimu to continue development of an app. This app will enable fishermen to monitor catches at sea quickly and easily, and provide accurate data to the Ministry almost immediately. An advantage for the fishing industry is being able to sell the catch before reaching shore because they would know exactly what they've got.

Rimu has now teamed up with Dr Mark Soboil and they are part of a consortium. With a dispensation from the Ministry they have trials running with three fishing companies who operate all over the North Island. They are also looking to enter the United States market. Rimu is looking forward to seeing his dream become a reality.

October 2016