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Casting a Wider Net for Fisheries Data: Ocean Solutions from Anglers

Posted On February 22, 2013 by

A friend emailed me a link the other day to an article in the Hispanic Business News entitled “App for Anglers also Helps Fisheries Management”. He asked me, “is this legit?” Yes, it is!

The article describes this cool new smart phone app, called iAngler. IAngler is a smart phone app developed through collaboration between research scientists and anglers. At its heart, iAngler is an effort to engage fishermen into fisheries management. The creation of iAngler was largely driven by the Snook and Gamefish Foundation (SGF), who partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) for scientific guidance. SGF has developed a fast and easy way for fishermen to make their catch and their fishing experience count. The partnership is already paying off. Information from the program has already been used in FWC’s recent assessment of snook.

As Rick Roberts, Executive Director of SGF says, “we want to promote anglers to keep score of their catch on the water, much like a golfer on the course.” Whether anglers accomplish this via an app for iPhone and android phones or use a simple data card and log the information online from their desktop after a recent fishing trip, the information counts by providing data on angler habits, as well as their catch (or lack thereof), to researchers evaluating stock assessments of a fish.

“We call it the Angler Action Program,” says Roberts. “For too long anglers have felt detached from fisheries management decisions and it hasn’t been good. We wanted to create something that shows anglers count in the management process.”

It’s working. Managers at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have noticed their effort and are beginning to incorporate the Angler Action Program into the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) — a critical data collection system for the catch of recreational anglers across the nation that’s used in NMFS stock assessments.

As an angler and conservationist, I’ve long believed in science based management of our fisheries. I’m glad to see the Snook and Gamefish Foundation taking a proactive role to move anglers toward greater participation in the science and management of fisheries.