Smartphones Reveal Angler Behavior: A Case Study of a Popular Mobile Fishing Application in Alberta, Canada

smartphones-fishing-american-fisheries-society-fisheries-magazineJason T. Papenfuss, Nicholas Phelps, David Fulton, and Paul A. Venturelli ABSTRACT: Successfully managing fisheries and controlling the spread of invasive species depends on the ability to describe and predict angler behavior. However, finite resources restrict conventional survey approaches and tend to produce retrospective data that are limited in time or space and rely on intentions or attitudes rather than actual behavior. In this study, we used three years of angler data from a popular mobile fishing application in Alberta, Canada, to determine province-wide, seasonal patterns of (1) lake popularity that were consistent with conventional data and (2) anthropogenic lake connectivity that has not been widely described in North America. Our proof-of-concept analyses showed that mobile apps can be an inexpensive source of high-resolution, real-time data for managing fisheries and invasive species. We also identified key challenges that underscore the need for further research and development in this new frontier that combines big data with increased stakeholder interaction and cooperation.

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