A major challenge to improving season length and alleviate some of this controversy is the need for collection of timely catch data from the recreational fishing sector. While the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) has made significant improvements to the recreational data reporting process, there is still a need for rapid in-season and near real-time data collection including the possibility of new alternative management strategies (e.g., regional management of Gulf Red Snapper).
With more accurate data, the buffers incorporated in the catch projections to reduce the risk of overfishing could be reduced or perhaps eliminated, providing a greater amount of fish to be harvested and days in the season. The iSnapper mobile application is a unique opportunity to provide better data that will work in combination with current MRIP survey protocols to provide a supplementary means of rapid in-season (and out of season) catch information that would otherwise be impossible. In addition to catch statistics, this “modern” electronic logbook reporting mechanism will generate data for parameters that are typically difficult to collect (e.g., fish discard rates, depths fished, better effort estimates, and socioeconomic parameters) to optimize a fishery’s full potential from both a harvest and economic perspective. The field of electronically collected and self-reported data certainly faces challenges; however, this app has the ability to overcome many of these obstacles while generating real-time, validated, and usable data for fisheries managers – something needed by everyone to improve access to the Red Snapper fishery.
This application was developed as a result of research conducted at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Learn more about the Island University by visiting us at www.tamucc.edu.