The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in cooperation with the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is asking recreational red snapper anglers to report their catches via iSnapper. This joint project is a means of supplementing current data collection methods to help improve recreational catch estimates of red snapper, which has become a contentious issue over the past several years.
This user-friendly smartphone application was created with anglers in mind. No one wants to spend their time filling out a survey when they could be fishing, but anglers should be able to complete the iSnapper survey in 5 minutes or less, and they can do it while idling back to the marina or boat ramp.There are only three steps to report your catch:
- Create a New Trip prior to leaving the dock. Once you begin a trip, you can put your phone away and enjoy your day fishing.
- At the end of the day, enter the species and number of fish caught as well as water depth and approximate fishing location.
- Report your catch by pressing “Submit.”It’s that easy.
There are numerous other features that make iSnapper a useful fishing tool, as it is not just a means for data collection. Weather and tidal information are available, as are TPWD artificial reef locations, and the option of photographing your personal best fish and sharing it on social media. These are only a few of the features that iSnapper provides and make it a fun resource to have onboard. Of course, it also serves as an important reporting tool for fishery managers.
We first released iSnapper to anglers in 2015. That year, 393 individuals registered to use the app and submitted 171 fishing trips during the Federal Red Snapper season. In 2016, an additional 55 individuals downloaded the app and a total of 121 trips were reported during the Federal season. We are hoping to have even more iSnapper users in 2017, as the more trips that get reported, the better. When used in conjunction with TPWD’s routine creel survey, these data can be combined to provide better estimates of red snapper landings than either survey can provide independently, leading to better management.However, we need more anglers using iSnapper to achieve this goal.
If you haven’t already downloaded iSnapper, now is your chance.It is available at the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) or visit our website on your phone at www.iSnapper.org and click on the provided links. Since last year, iSnapper has been enhanced to improve its functionality, so we are asking all users to re-register prior to the season opening. Registration is easy, but be sure to have your TX numbers handy since that is how we confirm your catch data.Don’t have a smartphone?No problem!You can register and report your catch online at www.iSnapperonline.org. Here’s hoping for calm seas and we look forward to hearing your fishing stories!
If you have any questions regarding the red snapper fishery and/or regulations in Texas state waters or the iSnapper app, contact the TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division at (512) 389-8575.Next month Zachary Olsen will introduce us to new technology being used to monitor our seagrass habitat.