Courtesy of U.S.Fish and Wildlife
The cerebral folks over at FishBrain, makers of the popular smartphone app for anglers, noted a few years back that their millions of users, in addition to logging their daily catches and connecting with other anglers, might also use the app to track and conserve imperiled wildlife in the process.
Since 2015, FishBrain and its users have been partnering with the Service to build and deploy a component to their app that allows them to use smartphone technology, such as GPS coordinates, remotely accessible databases and photography, to log up to 50 sightings a day of species listed under the Endangered Species Act.
“Of all the different hobbyists, anglers are among the best when it comes to being aware of the need for conservation. The natural world is such an important aspect of everyone’s lives, but it is anglers who experience and appreciate it on a daily basis,” says Johan Attby, CEO of FishBrain. “The fact they can now channel this interest into useful data collection is a very special opportunity. We are proud to be reaching our dedicated angling audiences to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service better carry out the amazing work they do.”
The crowd-sourced data being generated by citizens at thousands of fishing holes around the country will assist the Service, states, conservationist groups and academics better understand, track and conserve imperiled wildlife. In turn, anglers have the opportunity to learn more about about imperiled and invasive species issues through FishBrain, a worthy goal in itself says Service leadership.
“The first step towards conservation is always education and engagement, and we are excited to work with FishBrain to connect with new audiences,” says Gary Frazer, Assistant Director of the Service’s Ecological Services Program. “Anglers are extremely important in protecting and maintaining healthy aquatic habitats, and this is a unique opportunity to leverage anglers’ knowledge of fish, wildlife and local waterways on behalf of efforts that will benefit everyone.”
Examples imperiled fish and wildlife that are protected under the ESA that are being tracked through FishBrain include the shortnose sturgeon, whooping crane, Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, California red-legged frog, and the Columbian white-tailed deer in Oregon and Washington. The full list of species with accompanying information and photographs is available at http://www.fishbrain.com/blog/crowdsourcing-for-conservation.