Esri Ireland, the market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Inland Fisheries Ireland are calling on the community of up to 250,000 recreational sea anglers in Ireland to play an active role in helping to conserve marine fish stocks. Esri recently announced that its digital mapping system is being used by Inland Fisheries Ireland to help safeguard fish populations and protect marine ecosystems.

Esri’s ArcGIS system supports the Irish Marine Recreational Angling Survey (IMREC) which aims to estimate sea anglers’ catches along the 3,000km of Irish coastline. Whether they are shore anglers, small boat anglers or charter boat anglers, each member can sign up to access Esri’s Survey123 web-based app where they can record their catches and angling successes with a personalised dashboard.
Turning anglers into citizen scientists, the easy-to-use app enables anglers around Ireland to gather and upload real-time information from any device about the fish they catch and release. This anonymised information is then automatically transferred to a shared repository, where it can be easily viewed by the anglers and monitored by Inland Fisheries Ireland to identify patterns in the species distribution, volumes and weight of fish caught, and estimated catch rates.

In turn, Inland Fisheries Ireland has greater control over and confidence in the accuracy and consistency of the data collected. The EU is particularly interested in data on cod, pollock, sharks, rays, sea bass and highly migratory species such as tuna, but the solution can be configured to capture data on other species too.

Sea anglers of all experience levels can sign up here via the Inland Fisheries Ireland website, and they will also find a quick and easy video guide on how to use the app here. September is one of the busiest periods for sea angling around the Irish coast, so it’s a great time to start recording your catch, according to William Roche, a Senior Research Officer at Inland Fisheries Ireland.

He said: “With more anglers collecting data, we will be able to build up a better picture of the state of fish stocks off Ireland’s coast. ArcGIS will enable us to work with anglers as citizen scientists and crowdsource the large volume of data that we require for EU and national reporting. The personalised dashboards will help to make the recording of data a habitual activity for anglers, and we hope they will enjoy entering their catch data and take pride in their roles as stewards of the sea.”