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Shoreangling.co.za was set up in 2007 by Chris de Vries, an executive board
member of SASAA (South African Shore Angling Association) to provide a more
fish-friendly way of calculating a fish’s weight at shore angling competitions
in South Africa. Previously fish were kept in the shallows or even on dry land
until the weighmaster and his 200kg scales arrived to weigh the fish. This
placed an unacceptable level of stress on the fish due to it being out of the
water and physically weighed.
With the aim of getting the fish back into the water in less than two minutes,
the length of the fish is quickly staked out in the sand and the fish is
released. Then, armed with the fish’s species, gender and length, the
weighmaster consults the Shoreangling.co.za tables to establish the fish’s
weight, and also the number of competition points the angler has earned.
The Shoreangling.co.za data is based on more than a decade of extensive
research and lists 300 South Africa fish species. When De Vries saw the success
of the tables competition level he decided to make the service easily available
to recreational anglers as well, especially considering the enormous impact the
system had on conserving South Africa’s marine life. Also, more people using
the system means more information fed back to Shoreangling.co.za, thus
improving the scope and accuracy of the data.
At this point, De Vries roped in Pieter Wilcocks to help with the technical
details and the two quickly decided that an SMS API service was the obvious answer.
Anglers would be able to SMS in the fish’s details, and then receive back the
weight, national record weight, size and bag limits, and the closed season for
the species. As well as allowing them to return fish to the water, this would
also prevent undersize fishing and fishing out of season. And all anglers want
to know if they are close to a national record!
“Everyone knows how to SMS, the data would always be up-to-date and available
anywhere, and anglers would only need their phones and a tape measure, not
heavy scales or paper-based tables,” said De Vries. Shopping around for an SMS
service to make their idea a reality, Wilcocks came across BulkSMS.com service.
Its shared shortcode facility made the Shoreangling.co.za SMS service
financially viable and because BulkSMS awards a credit for every message
received, the reply SMS to the angler costs Shoreangler.co.za nothing.
“Because BulkSMS.com makes its technical details easily available online, we
were up and running in no time,” said Wilcocks. “This made interacting with the
service very, very easy. It just works. In fact, everything happens pretty much
Wilcocks was also impressed that in the event of something going wrong with the
message delivery, BulkSMS.com informed him immediately. “Shoreangling.co.za
isn’t a commercial venture, but the anglers pay R3 to send the SMS, so I need
to know if a message doesn’t arrive when it should,” said Wilcocks.
“And the BulkSMS.com support staff are responsive, helpful and friendly,”
The Shoreangling.co.za SMS service now also allows anglers to inquire about the
times of tides at their fishing destinations. Purely via word of mouth, the
service has almost 2,000 users and has been lauded by anglers, other fishing
bodies, conservationists and researchers around the world.
“We loved this simple yet effective application of SMS which is why we awarded
it the 2010 BulkSMS Messaging Award,” said Pieter Streicher, managing director
of BulkSMS.com. “Shoreangling.co.za supplies people with the information they
want, when they want it, in an easy to use way. It makes their lives easier and
also makes a considerable impact from a marine conservation point of view.”