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Tue, April 07

U.S. Fish and Wildlife partner with FishBrain app to track fish species

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has teamed up with FishBrain ­— the world’s largest free-to-use app and social network for anglers, to help the public identify and document threatened, endangered and candidate species.

The app enables FishBrain users to log sightings of up to 50 at-risk species during their regular fishing trips, which will assist conservationists and academics in determining where the animals are found, the habitat they need, the reasons for their decline, and how the public can help protect and conserve native wildlife for future generations.

“The first step towards conservation is always education and engagement, and we are excited to work with FishBrain to help us reach a new audience,” said Gary Frazer, assistant director of the USFWS's Ecological Services Program. “Anglers are extremely important to protecting and maintaining healthy aquatic habitats. This is a unique opportunity to synthesize recreational anglers’ information and knowledge in local waterways and expand our understanding of various species.”

To determine the species to be included in the app, USFWS examined all of the occurrences of threatened and endangered species near major streams, rivers, lakes, creeks and other bodies of water. Since water is critically important to numerous species, this yielded millions of results. To further refine this search, the team used a coarse filter approach to focus on larger bodies of water and limited results to species likely to be encountered by anglers, and those known to come into contact with the fishing community.

“Of all the different hobbyists, anglers are among the best when it comes to being aware of the need for conservation,”said Johan Attby, CEO of FishBrain. “The natural world is such an important aspect of everyone’s lives, but it is anglers who are able to experience and appreciate it on a day to day basis. Our users marvel at the beauty of animals and fish as a matter of course; the fact they can now channel this interest into something as constructive and helpful as data collection is a very special opportunity indeed. We are proud to be reaching our dedicated angling audience to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service carry on the amazing work they do.”

The final list of species provided to FishBrain includes animals across the United States that are protected as threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act, as well as candidates for federal protection and those protected as threatened or endangered by individual states. Examples include fish such as the shortnose sturgeon, birds such as the whooping crane, reptiles such as Kemp's ridley sea turtle, amphibians such as the California red-legged frog and mammals such as the Columbia white-tailed deer. A full list of species with accompanying information and photographs is available at www.fishbrain.com.

More information or to download the FishBrain app is available from the iTunes store or Google play.

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