STOCKHOLM, Dec. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the ability for any angler to help crowd source data on non-native freshwater fish species in Florida through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Fishbrain – the world's largest app and social network for anglers.
Starting today, the FWC will be inviting the 250,000 Florida-based Fishbrain app users to log catches of 15 different types of non-native fish in the Florida ecosystem. The FWC has provided a list of non-native species of interest to Fishbrain to equip its users with the necessary information to log sightings of these species within the app while they are out fishing. The Fishbrain app allows users to log catches by recording the location, time, species and a picture of their catch.
Florida is the pilot state to utilize Fishbrain technology in order to help land managers better understand the extent and impact of non-native aquatic species. Following the Florida campaign, Fishbrain and the Service hope to build on the pilot project in other areas of the country through partnerships with state conservation organizations. With a better understanding of the extent of these species in the environment, resource managers will be able to develop effective tools designed to monitor non-native species and prevent them from further damaging the biodiversity of ecosystems across the nation.
The list, compiled by FWC biologists, consists of Rio Grande cichlid, Jack Dempsey, blackchin tilapia, bullseye snakehead, clown knifefish, jaguar guapote, Mayan cichlid, spotted tilapia, Nile tilapia, banded cichlid, common carp, pacu, flathead catfish, blue catfish and green sunfish. The FWC promotes the consumptive use of these exotic fish instead of releasing them back into the wild.
"Anglers come face-to-face with the natural world on a daily basis, and so their hobby relies on maintaining a respectful, sustainable balance with nature. Many of our users are highly aware of the threat to biodiversity posed by invasive species, and so they're eager to involve themselves in projects such as this," said Johan Attby, CEO of Fishbrain. "As the success of our previous conservation initiatives has shown, our users are vigilant, industrious and passionate when it comes to helping protect the ecological balance. We look forward to the success of the project in Florida, before hopefully rolling it out to other states across the country."
Florida, often dubbed 'the fishing capital of the world,' is Fishbrain's largest market with over 250,000 users. Fishbrain has nearly three million users worldwide, with over half of them from the United States.
"We are excited to be working with Fishbrain to provide information to anglers about Florida's non-native fish species," said Sarah Funck, FWC's non-native fish and wildlife program coordinator. "Information we receive from this large user group will help our efforts to document and manage these species throughout the state."
Fishbrain provides anglers fishing forecasts based on real-catch data, the ability to track various species, share their experiences with friends, find hot new fishing spots and see what other people are catching, with what bait and where. Fishbrain can be downloaded from the App Store or the Google Play Store™. You can also follow Fishbrain on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Fishbrain is the world's biggest and fastest growing social network and mobile app for the world's most popular hobby – sport fishing. Fishbrain connects anglers to make fishing dreams come true, today and tomorrow through helping people track various species and share their experiences. Fishbrain values responsible fishing by encouraging catch and release and the sustainable harvest of fish species. For more information, go to www.fishbrain.com.
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