The following press release is courtesy of the Skipper Science Partnership and Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation:
Skipper Science and Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation launch new seabird and gillnet interaction observation project
The observations logged on smartphone app by fishermen regarding seabird interactions contribute to Alaska salmon sustainability certification
Juneau, AK – The Skipper Science Partnership and Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) are partnering on a new project that seeks to understand gillnet and seabird interactions within Alaska salmon fisheries. The pilot project officially launches this summer on July 1st. Through a citizen science approach that directly involves fishermen logging observations in real time via the Skipper Science Smartphone App, the data collected can shed light on any seabird interactions within the fishery.
SkipperScience is a citizen science project that allows observations and data to be recorded by fishermen using a mobile smartphone app, providing non-scientists in remote locations a way to systematically record and share environmental and biological data as well as information on fishing practices from their vessels in real-time while fishing. Importantly, the program aims to center community voices in fisheries research and management by providing a method to bridge and communicate data among various organizations and communities.
“Alaska fishermen have been informally observing and documenting fisheries and ecosystem data for decades and are local experts in their own right. The Skipper Science Partnership recognizes this and we work to connect this lived experience to researchers and managers by using cutting edge technology to help facilitate dialouge and communicate observations directly from the fishing grounds.” said Hannah-Marie Garcia ISN and Skipper Science Program Coordinator at Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government.
“We are thrilled to be piloting the seabird interaction project with Skipper Science and salmon fishermen this summer,” said AFDF Development Director Hannah Wilson. “This project fulfills data needs for continued Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability certification of Alaska Salmon Fisheries. It is incredibly powerful to have a mechanism for real time fisheries data that can be used to verify interactions between gillnetters and seabirds for the continuation of an MSC certification, and we are thrilled to see our fishermen already uploading data entries in real time.”