As a follow-up to my recent post about the recovery of Florida’s snook population in the wake of a devastating freeze in January of 2010, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation is asking anglers to collect data to better manage this highly sought after fish, as well as other species.
SGF created the Angler Action Program for anglers to record the sizes and locations of their catches with the goal of better understanding fish populations and distributions as well as getting anglers involved in fisheries management.
The program began in May of 2010. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission first used Angler Action Program data for its 2011 snook stock assessment and requested that the program expand to include more species.
There are four categories of data:
- “Trip” has information about the type of fishing, how many people were fishing, how much time they spent fishing and where they fished.
- “Location” includes more detailed information about the water depth, the water condition and, potentially, the GPS coordinates of the fishing took place.
- “Catch data” is recorded for each species that was fished for or caught, how many fish were kept and how many were released. If a species has a size or slot limit, anglers record whether a fish was under, in or over the size or slot limit.
- “Length information” is the exact length for some or all of the fish caught. This helps fisheries biologists determine size distributions. Anglers also can record a fish’s weight, its condition upon being released and where it was hooked, which helps scientists calculate survival rates. Anglers can upload photos of their catches.
All data is kept confidential and shared only with researchers. Individual anglers can access their data to get a feel for where, when and under what weather and tidal conditions they catch the most fish.
Angler Action is available online at www.snookfoundation.org and as an app for your handheld. Besides snook, data can be input for more than 100 species: everything from blue marlin and bluegills to porgies and peacock bass. And data can be input on catches no matter where you fish in the world.