Intertidal Strategies Design Research

Commercial passenger fishing vessel
People enjoy catching fishing excursions on a commercial passenger fishing vessel. Credit: Photograph “Electra” by Bryce Bradford (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED) on Flickr.
Client:   Intertidal Strategies

In 2023 Intertidal Strategies, a design firm that works to unlock data for ocean sustainability, partnered with GreenInfo Network to help the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Marine Region update and improve fisheries data collection. GreenInfo Network supported the work by doing subject matter expert interviews with CDFW staff and an electronic survey for Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) operators and owners. Recommendations from the research included policy and technological suggestions that addressed issues associated with delayed data submission, clarity of language for data fields, and e-logbook application environment development.


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) manages California’s diverse fish resources and habitats. To do so, the agency uses biological data and scientific expertise to implement and enforce regulations. One way the department collects data is the fishery logbook, a form where people record catches or attempts for specific fish species.

Currently, California uses 15 unique logbook forms with different data fields based on fishery needs. All forms are provided in paper form and only the Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) logbook has an e-log web application.

The Work

In 2023, Intertidal Strategies partnered with GreenInfo Network to support the following design research activities:
  • Conducted interviews with CDFW scientists, managers, and enforcers on CPFV to understand the mission-oriented tasks they perform and want to perform using data from fishery logbooks.
  • Developed, distributed, and analyzed a survey of CPFV operators to understand their experiences and needs with the existing web-based application.
The design research activities aimed to inform future logbook designs and data programs and improve quality and timeliness in the information needed to manage fisheries. 

We developed an interview guide for CDFW staff, helped conduct interviews, and created user journey maps to visualize interactions between scientists and logbook data points. Using the online whiteboard application MURAL as our working space, we discussed the visualizations with interviewees to build a shared understanding of how logbook data is used in mission-driven tasks.

CPFV e-logbook survey
GreenInfo Network and Intertidal Strategies created a survey with questions about the paper and e-log web application for CPFV owners and operators. The survey was made available for a month in the Summer of 2023 and conducted using Survey Monkey and focused on the following themes: 
  • Profile of the fleet
  • Paper logbook use, satisfaction, likes, and dislikes
  • Electronic logbook use, satisfaction, likes, dislikes, and potential improvements
  • Connectivity at sea and port
The survey was an essential first step to understanding what was working well and how to improve the e-logbook for greater adoption by the CPFV fleet and beyond. 


Intertidal Strategies and GIN consolidated findings in a series of update memos, slide decks, and user journey maps to make the content actionable by CDFW. Recommendations included:
  • Improving the app to support features such as local offline storage and transmission once connectivity is restored.
  • Revising the terms and instructions that seem to differ between the paper and e-logs is important to avoid further confusion and potential QA/QC issues.
  • Having basic data such as operator name and vessel ID auto-populate when people create a new logbook entry helps operators complete their forms more quickly.
The research was used as a baseline to drive the subsequent phases of the work by Intertidal Strategies, which included creating a future feature list and analyzing off-the-shelf commercial e-log services.

Focus:   Conservation, Environment, Government Agencies  

Project Years: 2023

GreenInfo Network creates, analyzes, visualizes and communicates information in the public interest. We specialize in mapping and related technology for nonprofits and public agencies, focusing on using it for conservation, social equity, public health, environment and foundation grant making.
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