Thuringowa State High School year 10 students Brian Archer, 15, Declan Lindsell, 15 and Luke O'Brien, 15, with their innovative A.I. fingerprint crab pot which has secured them 3rd place in the A.I. for Good Challenge. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Thuringowa State High School year 10 students Brian Archer, 15, Declan Lindsell, 15 and Luke O'Brien, 15, with their innovative A.I. fingerprint crab pot which has secured them 3rd place in the A.I. for Good Challenge. Picture: Shae Beplate.

Queensland teens invent ‘game changing’ crab pot

A GENIUS reinvention of the ­humble crab pot has thrown it into a new age of fishing, thanks to artificial intelligence.

Thuringowa State High School students Declan Lindsell, Brian Archer and Luke O'Brien designed the prototype which uses fingerprint technology to stop thieves and only accept male crabs into the pot.

The team was picked as one of eight finalists out of 600 Queensland entries in the "Education Changemakers" national artificial intelligence (AI) competition and placed third as the only state school, narrowly missing out on the national finals.

Declan said the idea to design an AI crab pot was driven by his teammate's love of fishing.

"I don't fish a lot but Luke comes from a commercial fishing family, and we were thinking of a way to make crabbing or fishing better for people so all of us decided to come up with idea for a fingerprint crab pot," he said.

"We designed it so it can't get ­stolen or take female crabs because that's really bad, because it affects the biodiversity of the ecosystem and makes it hard for males to mate with females."

 

Thuringowa State High School year 10 students Brian Archer, 15, Declan Lindsell, 15 and Luke O'Brien, 15. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Thuringowa State High School year 10 students Brian Archer, 15, Declan Lindsell, 15 and Luke O'Brien, 15. Picture: Shae Beplate.

Declan said creating the technology to identify and reject females was a "no-brainer" because they can't be eaten anyway, but that was only one part of the crabbing issues they've tried to solve.

"The big problem is they get stolen a lot of the time because they get ­mistaken, and they're expensive so people just take them," he said.

Fishing expert Eddie Riddle said crab pot theft has been rife within the industry for decades.

"Back in the day it was called 'share farming'; people would take your mud crab and leave a stubby in its place. It was a bit tongue in cheek," he said.

"It is a serious offence though and magistrates deal very heavily for ­people caught tampering with crab pots.

"(Queensland) Fisheries now use covert cameras to set pots and catch people tampering; fines go into thousands and at times boats confiscated."

Mr Riddle said the fingerprint technology could be a game changer for commercial crabbers, especially given the importance placed on the species by Queensland Fisheries.

"Crabs are regarded as a high-priority black market species by Queensland Fisheries, attracting new regulations to be introduced soon including catching restrictions," he said.

"Lightweight crab pots will also be outlawed."

Declan said now the team had a successful prototype with which they hoped to attract investor interest.

Thuringowa State High School ­science teacher and project mentor Rebecca Vanderjagt said the boys' achievement proved STEM learning was opening up new career pathways.



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