Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Development of a smartphone app and website for anglers to report fish distribution and health data - FC1210

This project will develop a smartphone app (and associated website and database) for anglers to log georeferenced details of the fish they catch directly from the lake-side, river bank, boat or shore. This reporting platform will be used to launch a citizen science initiative (hosted by the Angling Trust) to collect data that can be used to accurately map the distribution and health of wild fish populations throughout the freshwater and marine aquatic environments. To achieve this, we will establish, in collaboration with the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency, the reporting system specification (functionality, features, and data requirements) and develop a proof-of-concept smartphone app, website and database. Sources of funding for continued development of the reporting platform and maintenance of the citizen science project will be established. The results of this work will be used to:

• Establish a database for the detailed mapping of the distribution of UK freshwater fish species;
• Develop a passive disease surveillance system for UK wild fish populations;
• Provide population data to inform control strategies during outbreaks of exotic disease;
• Collect data on angler movements and habits to inform aquatic disease risk assessments and disease spread models
• Provide an unprecedented evidence base to study the effects of environmental change (including climate change and changing land use), the impact of natural disasters or accidental chemical release, the establishment and impact of invasive species or new and emerging pathogens on UK fish populations;
• Promote awareness of disease threats and best practice for biosecurity;
• Provide indicators for biodiversity loss (or gain);
• Provide indicators for habitat monitoring;
• Inform the contribution of wild fish populations to economic [cultural] services;
• Test the potential for collecting information on sea angling catches as part of our statutory requirements for Europe.

This project addresses key policy areas across Defra, bringing together aspects of biodiversity and animal health by improving knowledge through a novel approach to monitoring and surveillance. The project will also contribute to an evidence base for fisheries, invasive species and future impacts of climate change.
Aim: To promote innovation and encourage public participation in the collection of scientific data that will benefit aquatic animal health and conservation.

Evidence objectives:
1. Develop a reporting platform for anglers to submit fish distribution and health data
2. Launch a citizen science initiative
3. Develop an output protocol for submitting results to the NBN Gateway
4. Complete an analysis of initial data collected
5. Prepare a proposal to fund further development and maintenance

Outcomes: This project will establish a valuable working relationship between Cefas, the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust and develop a stakeholder network for the long-term management a novel evidence reporting system.

• A proof-of-concept angler reporting system (smartphone app, website and database);
• Published analysis of results
• A bid, to an appropriate funding body, for ongoing support
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2015

Cost: £94,852
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Disease Control              
Veterinary Surveillance