ANNAPOLIS, Md., Nov 21, 2014 – A new website and smartphone application aims to help anglers track their fishing catch and help conserve key Maryland fish species. “Chesapeake Catch” is a project led by Maryland-area anglers to gather information to better inform anglers and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in fisheries management decisions and policies.
Chesapeake Catch records information about Maryland's most popular fish including rockfish, redfish, speckled trout, croaker, yellow perch and shad. All other tidal and freshwater species, including invasives, can also be recorded. The app allows anglers to record details and post photos of their fish in a personal log. This log has a spot for information about species caught, time spent on the water, general area, the length and catch-or-release disposition of each fish. All of this information can be collected voluntarily by anglers in the field.
"Anglers have a huge investment in good fisheries management, because we want more fish to catch for years to come," said Ed Liccione, Chair, Coastal Conservation Association Maryland. "Chesapeake Catch helps us track what we're catching and connect with other anglers, but also makes our catch count in decisions about conservation and management."
Chesapeake Catch is a local affiliate of Angler Action, which allowed anglers to collect their own data to inform fishery management in communities nationally. It first launched in Florida with an app and website for recreational anglers to log data about snook catches after a large die-off. Angler Action said the data helped track snook recovery with managers at the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Data from Angler Action was used in the 2011 Snook Stock Assessment and has been requested for use in other research studies and stock assessments.
"Good data makes for good management, and both make for better fishing," said Bill Goldsborough, Director of Fisheries, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "We can all have a voice in better fisheries management with Chesapeake Catch, and I encourage all anglers who care about the future of fishing in Maryland to download the app."
"Chesapeake Catch is a unique example of a project bringing together recreational anglers, conservationists and fisheries managers in order to gather more information about and protect Maryland fisheries," said Tom O'Connell, Director, Fisheries Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources. "This information is going to be very valuable to our work."
Fishing guides, recreational fishing bloggers and other avid anglers active in well- known organizations such as the Maryland Sportsman Foundation, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Environmental Defense Fund and Maryland Saltwater Sportsfishing Association also participated in the working group behind Chesapeake Catch. The app can be viewed online at www.chesapeakecatch.com or downloaded in iTunes or the Google Play store.