GulfWild IMG_3023Millions of Americans enjoy recreational saltwater angling, yet there is a growing consensus that management often doesn’t meet their needs. Managers require data from recreational anglers, but existing approaches, including access-point intercept surveys and telephone surveys to capture catch data, are not always effective or trusted by recreational stakeholders.

“The advent of smartphone technology offers a powerful tool to capture reliable recreational data”, explains Michael Christopher, Managing Director at Elemental Methods. “Well-designed applications can allow anglers to easily report outcomes of their recreational fishing trips, such as species caught/released, length, weight, release condition, and GPS location, in close to real time.”

“Programs such as iSnapper, iAngler and Tails n’ Scales have been used by state governments to capture recreational data for fisheries management. As the prevalence of these technologies grow, the amount of catch data captured by such self-reporting programs has the potential to surpass the volume of data from traditional federal and state programs. It is essential that information systems are capable of integrating data collected by self-reporting applications to reliably augment and enhance data collected through traditional survey methods.”

“Recreational anglers are anxious, and literally demanding, an opportunity to contribute to the management of federal and state fisheries. Information systems and processes must evolve to harness their enthusiasm and take full advantage of the data they collect to deliver better science and management.”