New app is easy to use, and collects data that’s essential to wildlife managers
To conserve our aquatic resources, it’s essential for wildlife mangers to have good data about what’s going on under the surface of Canada’s lakes, rivers and coastlines. Anglers, who spend many hours on the water, have exactly the kind of first-hand observational knowledge scientists need, but lack a good way to share it. To solve this problem, Canadian wildlife agencies have created the Fish Health Tracker—a new app that allows anglers to quickly and easily report observations on fish health.
Anglers can use the Fish Health Tracker tool to enter observations in real time (or at any time) using the iPhone or Android smartphone app, or use a computer at home to submit observations via a web-based app. And scientists aren’t just looking for reports on fish that look abnormal or are acting in an unusual way. They also welcome entries noting the presence of invasive aquatic species, fish impacted by environmental issues such as chemical contamination and even healthy fish. Ever report offers an important data point, helping scientists determine which fish species are present in Canada, the health of those fish, and the emergence or spread of new diseases or invasive species.
Once you report your sighting, project scientists review and classify the information. If they suspect a problem, a scientist may contact you for further information or alert local authorities to conduct a more in-depth investigation. These reports from anglers allow scientists to respond much more quickly to health or environmental issues, and hopefully preventing them from spreading.
In addition, unlike some commercial apps that encourage folks on the water to record their catches, the Fish Health Tracker will not share or reveal your secret honey holes to other anglers. So for even the most secretive anglers, there’s no reason not to make reports. The Fish Health Tracker Tool is free and available via:
To learn more about why why this app was created, and how scientists hope to use it, check out this episode of the Blue Fish Radio Podcast. In it, producer/host Lawrence Gunther talks to Doris Leung, Interim Director of the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System, and a driving force behind the creation of the Fish Health Tracker.