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High-tech fish tracking at Takla

Keith West, Fisheries Program Coordinator at Takla Nation
Keith West, Fisheries Program Coordinator at Takla Nation

Takla Nation is combining smart phones and citizen science to track fish populations in its territory. The Takla Fish Tracker app, soon available on both Android and Apple devices, enables anglers to track their catches and sends the data to the Takla Nation fisheries program for secure storage and analysis.

“Takla Nation’s territory is full of beautiful rivers, lakes, and streams which are home to a wide variety of fish species,” said Keith West, Fisheries Program Coordinator at Takla Nation. “We want to make sure that these fish are here for generations to come, for everyone to enjoy, and so are asking anglers to help track of their catches.”

The federal and provincial governments have responsibility for keeping track of fish populations, but don’t have the resources to keep enough people on the ground to provide reliable data. Takla Nation has been ramping up its fisheries program, and using a wide variety of tools — from drones, to sonar, to old fashioned counting by hand — to better understand fish populations in their territory.

Now they are reaching out to everyone who enjoys fishing to keep track of their catches, and add to the scientific analysis of fish populations.

“Our program is about understanding and valuing fish populations,” said Trevor McConkey, Environmental Operations Manager at Takla Nation. “By knowing where these fish live, we can better protect their habitat and focus restoration efforts on bringing compromised stream reaches back into use. The app provides a real opportunity to capture and store information on existing and baseline conditions, which is key for responsible resource development”.

Anglers without smartphones can also participate by filling out a simple postcard, which will be available at bait shops and fishing lodges throughout the territory.

“We’re really excited about this initiative,” said Michael Schneider of Driftwood Valley Guide Outfitters. “We greatly respect Takla Nation’s knowledge of the land, and commitment to conservation, and my clients and myself are eager to contribute to the collection of data to keep our fish populations healthy.”

Takla Nation has been building good relationships with various stakeholders in their territory, including recreational anglers and guide outfitters. “The Guide Outfitters Association of BC is pleased to support the Takla First Nation’s Fish Tracker App.  Knowledge of fish populations and harvest will help inform fish management.  This is a great example of conservation and fish stewardship.” said Scott Ellis, Executive Director of GOABC

To improve participation rates, Takla will be holding a draw four times a year for fishing gear. Everyone who uses the app or submits a postcard will be eligible. The first prize to be drawn in October 2019 is an Abu Garcia rod and reel set.

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