Poster by: Gregory W. Stunz, Ph.D., Texas A&M
One of the most difficult aspects of fisheries management is the ability to collect timely, quality fisheries-dependent data from the private sector. The lack of data from recreational anglers (including private anglers, head boats, and for-hire) is concerning because without readily available and robust data, managers may be hindered in the decision making process.
This data gap is particularly problematic under potential new regional management scenarios in the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper requiring in-season catch rates. Thus, the overall goal of was to develop a smartphone application (“app”) through cooperation of scientists, managers, and fishermen and test the feasibility of its use as an electronic logbook. The purpose of this poster presentation is to provide a hands-on demonstration of the app as well as give summary findings.
Working with 16 for-hire vessel captains from across the Gulf of Mexico, we developed an electronic logbook app, iSnapper, for use on Apple iPhones and iPads. We also tested the feasibility of collecting socio-economic data from recreational anglers in the reef fish fishery by including a voluntary survey in iSnapper. The captains tested the app by recording and submitting their catch data during the 2011 recreational red snapper fishing season (June 1, 2011 – July 18, 2011 and continued for 2 additional years). We had remarkable and overwhelming buy-in and support from the captains participating in the study. Most captains continued to use iSnapper after the pilot phase, and we demonstrated that iSnapper is an affordable, adaptable, simple to use app that is capable of producing high quality and valid catch data for use by fisher managers in near-real time.