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FACTS™ (Fishing Activity and Catch Tracking System) is a set of fishery data collection and management software modules for those who are accountable for collecting and/or reporting fishing activity and catch data in a fishery. If you need timely, complete, accurate fishing activity and catch information across a fishery, FACTS™ provides real-time multi-stakeholder data from at-sea and onshore sources. After nearly 20 years in fisheries IT, we have seen it all. More importantly, we have seen fishery managers having to waste their time putting out IT fires they aren’t even trained to handle – we’d rather see them manage the resource because the fish need that more. We’ve also seen fishers suffer from the burden of reporting the same data to multiple agencies and being forced to use systems that don’t work or add value for them – we’d rather see them go fish!

Electric Edge Systems Group Inc. (EESG) is the company behind FACTS™. EESG was founded in September, 2000 in Victoria, BC Canada. We built lots of systems for many customers before we created FACTS™. Along the way we serviced contracts with Fisheries & Oceans Canada (aka the DFO) for 14 years. Our DFO work started with a recreational licensing system, expanded to include several other licensing systems, as well as the hail, harvest, and quota management systems for British Columbia’s groundfish fisheries.

We were utilized by the DFO to create and upgrade data management systems, but most of the data was still being collected on paper and then manually data entered. Time and time again we saw issues that cropped up due to the data collection side of the equation and this was mainly because there was no validation possible on a paper form – followed closely by time lags from data collection to data entry, and finally to the ability to report that data to all stakeholders (as opposed to just the government). Clearly time delays and the need to back track to correct data recorded on paper was a potential waste of time and resources; making in-season stock assessment decisions quite difficult. It was clear to us there was both a far better and cost-effective way to meet the needs of fisheries across the globe. A system that validated data as it was collected and reported it as soon as it was submitted – all with an audit trail of revisions made to any data set that was part of the trip. This system would provide a complete electronic version of fishing trips, help with scheduling of service provider functions in the fishery, reduce reporting burden, remove a huge amount of QA/QC effort, all while being flexible and scalable. So, we decided that as professional programmers with a great deal of fisheries expertise we were in the unique position to solve these problems.

In late 2008 we decided to move away from contracting out our services and started building FACTS™. That allowed us to set our own requirements based on our own observations and build a system we knew would work better by design.

Since our initial launch in early 2010, we have proven every day that we have a better mousetrap! Just ask any of our customers.

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