Modelling tools, citizen science and collaboration with industry to assess where and how much people fish.
Recreational fishing is playing an increasingly important role. It is important for economy, a common way for people to spend time in nature and to learn about the life under the waves. But recreational fishing can have a large impact on some species and in some ecosystems. But just how large? Estimating the intensity of recreational fishing is notoriously hard. I am currently leading a large project in Lithuania, with a team or researchers at the Nature Research Centre and funded through the Research Council of Lithuania. We aim to develop new technologies to estimate the intensity of recreational fishing in Lithuania.
First, we are using areal drone footage and machine learning tools to analyse video data. Second, we are cooperating with the angler sonar company (www.deepersonar.com) to analyse anonymous data of sonar use effort. Our goal is to calibrate the two approaches to get a better assessment of fishing effort in different water bodies. Combined with the onsite surveys and smart phone applications on recorded catch, we will then aim to assess the actual catch taken by recreational anglers. Such information on angler catches is essential to plan management and potential stocking of popular angling locations. This work has only just started, so stay tuned for more news.