Just in time for summer the Fish4all app is now available for android smartphones. Unveiled for iPhones earlier this year, the free app has been developed to gather data that can provide better information on where and how recreational fishing is occurring.
Fish4all investor and recreational fisher Tony Craig says for individual fishers the app is a perfect fishing diary and a way for fishers to share and compare catch details with their mates and fishing clubs.
“For the recreational sector, data gathered from the app can be used enhance the overall picture of recreational interests in our precious resources,” he says.
Gathering data on recreational fishers has generally sat in the “technically difficult basket” but with smartphone technology and a commitment by the recreational sector, the Fish4all team has found a solution that is fun and supports sustainable fisheries management.
Fishers are encouraged to give the app a go and to send in their feedback and suggestions to the Fish4all team.
“The next three months will be considered a trial period for our 1.0 version of the app and an opportunity for recreational fishers to tell us what they think. People can get in touch with us through our Facebook page or website to let us know what features they like and what they would like added,” Mr Craig says.
Over the summer the Fish4all team will also be working with recreational fishing organisations to determine the best way for the sector to maintain collected data over the long term.
Fish4all investor John Murphy says, “This is an app that was built by recreational fishers for recreational fishers. Our intention with this app is that all the data will be controlled by the sector.”
He adds that by taking voluntary action to gather fishing data, the recreational sector will be in a stronger position to contribute to shared fisheries management.
“The Fish4all app provides a fun and easy way for recreational fishers of any age to contribute to improving our knowledge and understanding of recreational fishing activity.”
To learn more or to download the app visit www.Fish4all.co.nz.
How is recreational fishing data currently collected? Traditionally recreational catch and effort levels have been determined through Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) periodic phone, boat ramp and aerial surveys. These methods only provide a snapshot of what’s happening within recreational fisheries.
The Fish4all team believes technology advancements combined with increased smartphone use means the previously impossible is now possible. The Fish4all app will gather data that can provide better information on where and how recreational fishing is occurring.
What are the benefits of the app? For individual fishers there are three main benefits to the app: 1) It serves as a personal fishing diary and offers a way for fishers to compare their catch with others in their region and the North Island and South Island. 2) Fishers can take photos and brag to their mates. 3) By using the app fishers can help raise funds for the sector by simply taking advantage of special discounts, competitions and deals that will only be available to app users (users who don’t want to be notified can opt out). The app has been built for either marine or freshwater fishing.
While the app is a fun way to gather information, it’s also a way of contributing to the sustainability of our fish stocks. The app is the brainchild of recreational fishers Tony Craig and John Murphy who recognise that recreational fishing trends are not well understood in New Zealand (a common problem worldwide).
Will fisher information be protected? To maintain privacy for those who use the app, only email addresses and “handles” are required to register.
What data will be collected? While individual privacy is protected, for the sector the app will provide important information on catches, fishing methods, and time spent fishing by region. It will also provide demographics in terms of age, sex and ethnicity.
This reported information can be sliced and diced by the recreational sector to better understand recreational interest in shared fisheries and can be used as and when desired by the sector to inform fisheries management decisions. The data will be held in a database that will be owned and controlled by the recreational sector.
What next? The app is being released in December to encourage the recreational fishing community to use it over the summer and provide valuable feedback to the Fish4all team so that improvements can be made to both the overall experience for users and the amount of information being gathered.
Throughout the summer competitions with prizes will be held to encourage fishers to sign up and use the app. The Fish4all team is looking to partner with related fishing suppliers (for example, fuel, boat, bait, tackle) during these trial months to increase the number of prize opportunities for app sign ups and therefore Fish4all’s reach.