The app was initially developed to help my brother who is a fisherman working an U10 potter out of Padstow.
The app appeared to work well and IFCA Cornwall were in support allowing fisherman to submit their returns at the tap of a button at the end of the month rather than filling out (expensive!) carbon copy sheets and having to post them off.
I truly believe that the data the app was providing was far more accurate than what was being submitted to authorities previously as it was in the fishers interest to record their catch accurately so they could look back over previous months/years and see how they are doing compared to previous years.
As with anything, developing apps has a cost. Not only the development cost but the ongoing time supporting the app including monthly cloud server costs which the app needs to function.
Initially I implemented the Cornwall IFCA shellfish return which gets populated automatically, attached to an email as a PDF and emailed to IFCA. Later I added the MMO MSAR1 return as it made sense to kill 2 birds with one stone… both returns being generated from the single set of data and sent to the respective authorities.
The MMO were never in support of this. After several attempts to contact them and discuss, we were just ignored.
I guess the beginning of the end came when the MMO announced their own app which they were going to force the fishers to use. At that point, it pretty much made the iCatch app redundant… having to record your catch twice in 2 separate apps pretty much destroyed the convenience of the app.
In total, to date I would estimate that I have spent around 8,000 to 10,000 GBP developing this app. I believe the MMO have exceeded 2 million pounds so far.
I have made the changes IFCA required each year with regards to implementing small changes to their return form however more recently I was asked if I could make some changes which would have taken a significant amount of my time so natually I asked if there was any funding available to cover the development costs. It was discussed in an internal IFCA meeting and I was given the answer. It was a “no”. I wasn’t even asked how much, it was just a straight “no”.
Am I disappointed? absolutely! Not because I lost out on this app, but because there are 1000’s of developers like me out there who have great innovative ideas and solutions to existing problems who, no doubt, will get the same response from public sector organisations. There’s only so many times we can be given a “no” before we give up trying to help. I’m afraid I’ve now hit my limit.
Thank you for your support over the years, I wish you all the best for 2021 and hope you all stay safe!”