As soon it was released on the Web on March 25, several hundred people downloaded the FishLine application for their smartphones. That’s a large number, given the fact that people don’t readily associate the fishing community with cutting-edge modern technology, but FishLine marries those two worlds surprisingly well. FishLine’s convenient assortment of features allow people to find fresh, local seafood from Half Moon Bay to Port San Luis in the quickest, most efficient way possible. Phondini Partners, the application’s developers, take it one step further by forming an intricate bond between the user and the fishermen — and that makes FishLine not only a resourceful download, but also an enriching experience.
Fishline’s database of fresh and local fish is updated frequently by local fishermen and seafood retailers. Currently, users are able to browse by species, including — but not limited to — black cod, crab, halibut, lingcod, oysters, rockfish, salmon and sanddabs. Other species are added when vendors are available to sell them. Once the user selects their desired species, a list containing a diverse assortment of fishing vessels, restaurants and fish markets appears. Users can select any of the search results to find the vendor’s address, additional contact information and product availability.
The database is also organized by location (“Ports & Places”). Ports & Places is useful for people who are looking for seafood in a specified area. The gallery offers an assortment of photos from each area, which showcase local seafood restaurants, serene nature photography, photos of food and more. In many respects, FishLine has a built-in appeal to tourism. For instance, other features found in Ports & Places include updated weather and marine forecasts, tide and surf charts, Google Maps, and CHP alerts. Event listings are available on the app’s main menu.
FishLine presents a comprehensive list of local fishermen and their biographies. They offer a surprisingly candid look into the local fishing industry and the people who have dedicated their lives to it. This helps application users get acquainted with people they would be doing business with, lending a measure of integrity and assurance to an otherwise mundane business transaction. FishLine supports the Faces of California Fishing project, which features bios, stories, poetry, recipes and pictures from the fishing community.
Users have access to online, mobile-friendly seafood markets including American Abalone and Morro Bay’s Giovanni’s Fish Market. As of version 2.03j (7/19/2013), FishLine doesn’t have other local online storefronts available. The application would benefit greatly from having a merchant terminal or simple payment gateway such as PayPal, which would keep all transactions within their framework. Additionally, Phondini Partners and participants would have transaction data that could track sales and application usage. Since FishLine is continuously evolving at a rapid pace, their online commerce functionality should improve even more.
FishLine has a very basic, clutter-free interface geared toward people who are new to the era of smartphones. It doesn’t take a lot of time before one has a masterful grasp of the seemingly endless features that help establish a connection between seafood and lovers of the sea. While many smartphone applications tend to have a narrowly tailored focus, FishLine shines as an ambitious exception to the rule while simultaneously introducing the fishing industry to the digital age.
FishLine (Phondini Partners) is financed in part by a grant from the Central California Joint Cable/Fisheries Liaison Committee. FishLine is a community-driven effort, supported by an Advisory Board: Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons; Councilman Noah Smulker; Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce CEO Craig Schmidt; Executive Directory of Morro Bay Visitor Center & Tourism Bureau Karin Moss; Morro Bay Harbor Advisory Board Chairman Jeff Eckles; and Fisherman & Restauranteur Mark Tognazzini.
FishLine is available for download for free at: