Why is the IGFA conducting this project?
Obtaining quality estimates of recreational catch continues to be problematic for fisheries managers. This trial project will investigate the feasibility of using catch data voluntarily reported by anglers through an innovative iPhone app to easily record catch information.
When and where will the pilot project be conducted?
The pilot study will be conducted in Everglades National Park. Target species will include typical inshore fish caught by anglers in this area (e.g., redfish, snook, tarpon, seatrout, etc.).
How will the iPhone app collect data?
The app will utilize iPhone technology allowing the angler to collect important information (e.g., time, date, location) automatically whenever the user takes a picture through the app or makes a click with the app, which records that a fish is caught. In addition, a first ever visual identification system for fish will be available and can help anglers identify their catch. By simply taking a picture of a fish, along with a few clicks, the app will provide the angler with a list of most likely species.
What type of data will be collected and shared with scientists?
This project and app will provide exactly the same type of information that is already being collected by Everglades National Park (ENP) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff when they ask an angler to report their catch data at boat ramps and other fishing locations.
Will other people be able to see exactly where I am catching my fish?
No! The catch location data that are shared with ENP and FWC staff will only correspond with
broad geographic zones
that are already in use by them. No person other than yourself will be able to see specific islands, spots on shorelines, wrecks, etc. where you are catching your fish. Again, the information reported to fisheries managers is the same information that is already collected by FWC and ENP staff. As anglers ourselves, we at the IGFA, understand that anglers want to keep this type of information confidential!
Will I still be asked to complete dockside surveys for the NPS and FWC?
Possibly. Since this is a trial study, we need to work out any problems with the app and reporting. We are coordinating with NPS to make sure that the integrity of their existing survey data is not compromised while we are in the process. In the long run, if the app proves to be useful and you report that you like it, completing dockside surveys may become unnecessary. Until then, we ask that you comply with requests from the NPS and FWC staff who may approach you.
Do I need to change my iPhone settings?
No. However, to participate in the project, you will need to have the GPS function turned on and use the app while you are fishing. Additionally, we will ask you to complete a survey before and after using the app and provide us with your honest opinion of how it could be improved.
If I do not have cell phone coverage, can I still use the app?
Yes! You will not have access to the visual identification feature to help identify your fish, but you can still use all of the other features of the app. The information that you collect will be stored in your cell phone, and once you return to an area where you have cell phone coverage, you will need to upload that information with a few simple steps so that you can view it in your personal log.
What’s in it for me?
First and foremost, you will be taking an active role to help improve recreational catch data. Data such as these are crucial to improving our fisheries for the long term. On an individual level, using the app faithfully will give you an insight to your own fishing that you have not ever seen before. You and only you will be able to see exactly where you are catching your fish on interactive satellite imagery. You will be able to see how your catch rates and species composition change over time and space, and you will also be able to generate reports that give you insight into where, when, and how you catch the most fish! For participating in this very important and exclusive project, we will also be offering promotional items such as protective cases for iPhones, IGFA Official Measuring Devices, Costa sunglasses and more!
Why isn’t my fish listed when I use Visual Identification?
During this trial phase, only the following fish can be submitted for Visual Identification:
- Common snook
- Red drum
- Spotted seatrout
- Gray snapper
- Black drum
- Spanish mackerel
- Gag grouper
- Crevalle jack
- Florida pompano
- Hardhead catfish
- Gafftopsail catfish
- Great barracuda
- Lemon shark
- Nurse shark
- Blacktip shark
- Bonnethead shark
- African pompano
- Blackfin tuna
- Little tunny
- Red grouper
Do you want me to count or take pictures of all of the fish?
Every fish that you bring to the boat should either be counted with the “Fish Clicker” or by taking a photograph through Visual Identification.
My fish is not on the list when using the Fish Clicker or the Visual Identification feature. What should I do?
If your fish is not listed on the drop down list, please choose “Unidentified” from the Fish Clicker. You can also email us with the species name (if you know it) and we will add this fish name to future versions of the app.
Do I stop the app when I stop for lunch or take a break from fishing?
No. You should start the app when you leave the dock and ONLY end the trip when you return to the dock at the end of your fishing trip. You can account for long periods not fishing when you estimate the “number of hours your lines were in the water” when you end the trip and close the app. If for some reason when you selected End Trip and your data was not submitted, Please click the My Trips icon and click, “Submit All” in the upper right hand corner of the screen.