FISH N TAG, ASIA’S FIRST CONSERVATION APP – 29 NOV 2016
After being seriously involved in Malaysia’s Sports Fishing Industry, we have always asked ourselves. Is there any conservation movement that are directly focused or involved in this small but huge potential industry? Although sports fishing may not be a leading industry that contributed to Malaysia’s GDP growth. It still hold a huge potential to be explored by entrepreneur. The industry utilizes resources from the Sea, Inland Lake and Estuary for anglers to catch their trophy Game Fish species. Without proper management and conservation policy, this natural resources will deplete exponentially and soon disrupt businesses.
Over the years, Fishyology has gathered a lot of information regarding local sports fishing conservation movement. Some programs are very successful, especially from Kelah Action Group (KAGUM) river cleaning program which brought MNC companies to be involved in their Mahseer Conservation. Even Government Agency like the Fisheries Department starting to develop further the industry and will implement Sea Fishing Licenses for local and international anglers. This is to ensure a sustainable fishing ground and instill Sports Fishing Etiquette to local anglers.
Fish Tagging might not be new to local anglers. We all know what it is, the basic understanding that it is used to tag fished for conservation purposes. Previous tagging program conducted by a local fishing association to tagged our beloved Sailfish. Fully sponsored by McDonald’s and being conducted in Kuala Rompin, Malaysia. At the end of the day, the tagging program is just a matter of tagging the fish and do a head count of it. The data does not have any value to it and frankly speaking, it is a waste of good resources and opportunity to make things better.
Fishyology is honored to be given an opportunity to be part of the development stage of Fish N Tag App. Thanks to Mr. Patrick Erler, an Austrian guy currently resides in Kuala Lumpur. An avid angler himself, he has explored most of Malaysia’s fishing ground and understand that the fishing fields need to be protected, to make it more sustainable. Developed for the Sports Fishing Industry, this tagging application will definitely revolutionize the whole process of a fish tagging program and the most important thing, it will boost the involvement of conservation evangelist and corporation to fight for this good cause. The process can be old school for existing conventional tagging program. Information are keyed in manually using a form and it is hard to keep track the overall growth or success of any tagging program as information are not viably shared to users.
In the smartphone era, Fish N Tag came in a nick of time to take fish tagging program to the next level. Utilizing tagging apparatus and markers plus additionally your smartphone and Fish N Tag Application. Now anyone can run their very own fish tagging program. Specially design to automate data entry with GPS tagging, from angling enthusiast to university research students. Fish N Tag is definitely an application that can be utilized to its full potential to help us understand more of the fish demographic and distribution.
How does tagging fish help conserve our lakes, rivers and oceans?
When we catch a fish, we record its weight, length and location before tagging and releasing. When the fish is re-caught somewhere else, it allows us to compare the data to find out if the fish is growing well, its migratory patterns and more. When we have this data, we can use it to spread awareness among the public and regulatory bodies to take action to preserve the rivers, lakes and oceans the fish depend on. The data we gain will also allow us to pinpoint the areas that we need to focus our efforts on.
The data gain through the program will also greatly benefit researchers and scientists studying the various species of fish and grant them a new treasure trove of data.
Tagging Process and Application
Fish N Tag still utilizes conventional tagging process, in this case a marker and the apparatus to tag the marker on the body of the fish. A yellow dart Tag is selected for this application, with simple indicator of the website of the tagging platform plus several basic info of measurement of the fish and weight. 2 type of dart tag are developed for the Freshwater Species and Saltwater Species, both are similar in design but differs in overall length and diameter.
Our first tag testing were conducted on 31st October, on the day Paul and Keith went out fishing with us for Sailfish. 2 Sailfish were caught and both of them were tagged and released safely. The whole process needs to be done swiftly with enough time for some photo opportunity. We were nervous when the actual tagging takes place but we did successfully on our first trial.
Data of the length and weight of the fish is recorded onto the Fish N Tag App and a photo of the tagged fish is taken. The photo of the fish will have GPS tag on it and data are synced to the main server when we are back in shores. No more lengthy data entry, a simple click of a button and our data is stored and updated live.
FISH TAGGING 101
FISH N TAG OVERVIEW
The application founded by Patrick Erler, an avid angler and the big boss of LXF Fishing Adventures. Overall the application is light on your phone and function on both Android and IOS smartphone. Although the current version is intended for fishing charters and tour operators, soon it will be made available for individuals. Functionality wise it is simple and easy to use.
Quick Chat with Fish N Tag Founder, Patrick Erler
Introduce yourself, how long have you been living in Malaysia and some of your fishing experience here?
Name is Patrick Erler. Have been living and calling Malaysia home now since the past 11 years. During this time I self explored and got to know the country personally buy jumping into the car and exploring places. Safe to say I think I have been to a lot of places many Malaysians haven’t even been yet.
Over the past years of fishing in Malaysia, how is the condition or overall state of the fishing field? Compared from 10 years ago and now?
Over the years got to know and befriended a lot of guys who were into fishing and have heard many reports and witnessed a lot first hand to. It is unfortunate that the over use of nets, Trawling, poisoning, bombing, pollution, deforestation to close to rivers causing massive siltation, poaching, no catch limits all contribute to the general decline of quality fishing.
I especially find the fresh water systems the hardest hit. If “we’ continue to stay blind to this and fail to do anything about it this wonderful resource could be decimated over the coming years
Why do you create FishNTag?
I have had a rod in my hand since I was 2 years old. I love fishing and everything that comes along with it. Preserving that is important to me. Over the years fishing here the sailfish migration has intrigued me even more. With little being done and other tagging programs in place in the US and Australia I reached a point where I thought why not Malaysia have its own tagging system. Something with the potential to be bigger and better and even the possible capacity to be able to integrate with other programs around the world, so I went to work.
Tell us a brief history about the creation of this wonderful idea?
Actually, the first seeds for this idea were planted and spoken about almost 2 years ago as I mentioned for the sailfish migration. As we began designing and programing it came about that this could actually incorporate any fish species both Salt and freshwater anywhere in the world all integrated into one. This would make it the only tagging program of its kind.
Can you briefly describe the functionality of this App?
I tried to think about this from an angler’s point of view as well as from the fishes. How to make it as simple as possible for the angler yet have as little stress as possible on the fish. This differs slightly between species of fish and if the angler is alone or not but generally in its simplest the app is opened, the choice of adding a new tag or recording an existing tag is chosen. Following on with the example of a new tag choice: one simply chooses the fish species, with the ease of drop down menu’s easily select the area you are fishing in, and enter the tag number from the tag you are going to use. Then select the photo button, Tag the fish, take a picture of it. After which you can measure and release the fish. When ready enter the length and weight of the fish add any notes and save.
A lot of the places you fish may not have phone signal, so each entry is initially saved to the phone. When you regain connectivity, you can login to your account on the app and sync the data up to the cloud system. You will them be able to review your catches online by logging in on Fishntag.com. The process is almost the same for recording an existing tag. By gathering this data we would be able to get a better understanding of a fishes movements/migration, see whether they stay/ return to the same area, growth rates in size and weight
Do you think this could be the perfect fish tagging App?
I do believe it has the potential to be. A lot of hard work has gone into this so far and there are definitely some tweaks and Cool features already planned for the app to make it so, which we hope to realise and update to the app to make it an even more powerful tool as soon as we have the funding to do so.
Who are your target users to use this App?
Initially I would say Charter and avid individual anglers who are dedicated to the cause and would like to contribute something positive to conservation.
How is the initial acceptance of FishNTag in Malaysia’s Sportsfishing Industry?
Initially, I have very high hopes, it has been received very positively buy the people I have spoken to about it. Even the software developers have been and are extremely motivated as this is not just another pointless app. It is an app that has functionality and a greater purpose , which anyone can be a part of.
Your final word about your hope of FishNTag?
Pay a visit to www.fishntag.com, and we look forward to gain more support from anglers, corporations and even research organization to help us understand more about our game fish species and help them to sustain a better future for the industry and ecosystem.