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IPFS News Link • Environment

Even West Coast Canada's Declining Salmon Population Has Its Own App


The salmon off Canada's western coast aren't doing so great. And while I realize how absurd this probably sounds, there's an app for that, too.

It won't sit on your smartphone's home screen next to Twitter or Yelp—at least, not yet. But for the select people who can use it, the app could make all the difference in diagnosing the health of the Salish Sea.

The app is called Community Fishers, and it is a partnership between Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) and the Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF). The two organizations have teamed up with citizen scientists "to increase the quality and range of oceanographic data," according to a release—and in this particular case, they believe a specialized Android app is one way to do it.

The app is designed to address a longstanding problem for ocean scientists: you can't be everywhere at once, and even the places you can be don't always get you the data you want. So, to augment their existing networks of sensors, tags and autonomous vehicles along the western North American coast, ONC and the PSF are harnessing the movements of local mariners with sensors attached to their boats to gather additional data, too.

"They knew that if they wanted to capture the data they were interested in—the amount, both the frequency of the data, being able to go out and get stuff almost every week, and also to be able to do it over such a wide area and hit so many spots—to have to do that with a dedicated research vessel would be extremely expensive and potentially impossible if you only had one ship to do it," said Ryan Flagg, an observatory support engineer with Ocean Networks Canada.