Fishing is off the hook with technology

To track fish populations the Takla First Nation is looking to new technology and people to help with the effort.

The Takla Fish Tracker app will soon be available on Apple and Android devices, which will enable anglers to count their catches and send data to the fisheries program for storage and analysis.

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"Takla Nation's territory is full of beautiful rivers, lakes, and streams which are home to a wide variety of fish species," Keith West, fisheries program coordinator at Takla Nation, said.

"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 their catches."

Takla Nation is ramping up its fisheries program by using drones, sonar, and counting what's caught to monitor fish numbers in their territory and are now reaching out to the general public for their input as well for details on what they catch at what location, if it's a salmon, trout or burbot, its sex and weight and length, if it was a catch and release and a few other details.

"Our program is about understanding and valuing fish populations," Trevor McConkey, environmental operations manager at Takla Nation, said.

"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."

Those who like to fish without their smartphones can instead fill out a postcard available at bait shops and fishing lodges within the territory.

"We're really excited about this initiative," Michael Schneider of Driftwood Valley Guide Outfitters, said.

"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 is embracing the conservation and stewardship of their territory's fish population.

"Knowledge of fish populations and harvest will help inform fish management," Scott Ellis, executive director of the Guide Outfitters Association of BC, said.

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 is an Abu Garcia rod and reel set.

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