Our Work Cut out for us Print

Submitted by Brett Fitzgerald on July, Jul 21, 2013


Anglers Shaping the Future of Fishing

Anglers have something vital to contribute to our sport:  the facts of their fishing trips.  The Angler Action Program (AAP) is starting its fourth year as an evolving tool for capturing recreational catch data.   The trip and catch information entered by anglers becomes a private log, but most importantly is being put to use by fishery scientists.  The AAP's standardized method of data collection, developed through team work between fishers and biologists, makes this possible. 

Each year, the program has improved based on input from both anglers and fishery researchers.  In 2012, with support from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Norcross Foundation, we established angleraction.org (the permanent online portal for entering catch records), and iAngler free phone apps which let you add fish info from your smartphone, ipad, or tablet.   Your feedback, ideas and resources are the driving force for continued improvement.   We welcome your feedback at any time throughinfo@angleraction.org.  Here is where we are today and what we hope to achieve in the year ahead.

Participation goal: steady growth

While there will be 30 million fishing trips in Florida this year, not everyone who fishes can participate in the Angler Action program.  

Required skills include the ability to correctly identify, measure and count fish, record catch while on the water, and then transmit this information into a permanent database through the angler action website or a phone app. 

Those who will consistently record their trips, including trips when the catch is zero, are serving the future of recreational fishing.   Researchers would like to see data from as broad a group of anglers as possible.

Usability goal: Making it easier

Each year we ask users as well as researchers how the program can be improved.  In the 2012 Angler Survey, these changes were deemed most urgently needed:

#1 Ability to load photos from camera phone to log (42% urgently needed, 47% good idea)
#2 More Competitions and rewards 29%
#3 Quick Catch Screen 25% urgently needed, 57% good idea

Also considered a good idea were time savers such as pre-selected fish lists, pre-selected trip profiles,  ability to post from smartphone to FaceBook. 

Here are some more of your great ideas which we are working to include this year:

  • Smart phone entries automatically record vital fishing information, such as location, tides, moon phase, and water temperatures.
  • An easier/faster method to list a bunch of fish in one entry. More entry options that allow grouping, or auto-fill technology might apply.

  • Be able to download information in GPS mounted on the boat.

Here are a few of your comments:

"When sea trout fishing; we sometimes will catch 30-40 short trout per person on the boat and release them; if you fish 2-3 days in a row; that's a lot of entries to make on released fish; if i could make a statement about the number of fish caught and released along with a range of lengths and how many died; it would be easier for me. same applies to grouper fishing when you catch lots of shorts that get thrown back. an easier way of telling you about the fish we released if there were lots of them."

"I would love to have all of my fishing apps wrapped into one, and why not the same one I log all of my catches in!! I find it frustrating that I have to have 2-3 different apps on my phone to check tides, weather, winds, etc. everytime I am heading out fishing. If I could have one app that had all I needed to know before, during, and after my fishing trip I would be in hog(fish) heaven!! Thanks for taking local angler ideas into consideration, that makes me happy!"

"I suggest that you provide more giveaway or contests to encourage anglers to log their catches. Maybe a point system for each logging."

"I see a lot more fish than I catch. For example, I found 2 schools of redfish Thursday, I identified 20+ slot fish. On Saturday, in the back country I saw way over 100 snook, most were close to over-slot. Didn't catch any. That is data lost to not catching, but the fish are 100% identifiable. Other scientific surveys count identified species (deer, bear, gators)."

If you have ideas to contribute or would like to share the work of developing and testing data collection tools, please emailinfo@angleraction.org.

Here's what you can look forward to in upcoming Angler Alert issues:

  • Who is Logging?  Researchers are interested in 'avidity' of anglers who are logging, and how that may affect Angler Action data samples.  : 

What fish are being logged?  Species and reasons for tracking,  Snook to Triggerfish

How is data being used?  Past and future applications