New SkipperScience app in development engages fishermen to report observations

screen shot of an app on a cell phone
A screen shot of the Skipper Science app. Photo courtesy of Skipper Science.

As part of her Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship working with the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Hannah-Marie Garcia is contributing to the development of a mobile app called SkipperScience. The app is part of a project by the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, the St. George Traditional Council and Community, and Ecology Resources, LLC, to utilize web-based technology to document observations of environmental changes through words, photos, and waypoints. The app will make environmental and biological data available broadly, including to scientists, managers, fishermen, and the public. The SkipperScience app is designed to be easy-to-use so that fishermen can document changes in fisheries and ocean conditions that they observe in remote fishing locations using their smartphone or tablet.

SkipperScience was piloted during the summer 2021 commercial fishing season. At a recent meeting with other Alaska Sea Grant State Fellows, Garcia shared her work on the project and a summary report of the 2021 pilot program results, including that 100 fishermen signed up for the program and entered nearly 50 observations in the app.

The SkipperScience project team is reviewing outcomes from the pilot project and discussing how to engage more fishermen and collect observations and data that are most useful to fisheries managers and scientists.

Learn more about the program on the Skipper Science website.