App helps to track fish

Dr. Gary Jackson has helped develop an app for anglers to record where they catch rare species of fish
Dr. Gary Jackson has helped develop an app for anglers to record where they catch rare species of fish

The app will allow users to access information on marine species that are of particular interest to WA and allows them to build their own maps and catalogue of submitted sightings.

Redmap’s observations are helping WA scientists track marine species movements after a rise in ocean temperatures led some species to change location.

Principal research scientist with the Department of Fisheries Dr Gary Jackson said unusually warm ocean temperatures were causing marine species to move.

‘Waters off WA’s west and south coasts are clearly warming up,’ Dr Jackson said.

‘The peak of the WA marine heatwave broke summer sea surface temperature records, as a pulse of abnormally warm water moved down the coast in the early part of 2011.’

Dr Jackson said there had now been three consecutive years of abnormally high sea temperatures.

‘During the peak, the department received a flurry of phone calls and emails from people reporting fish kills in the Mid-West and strange catches of tropical species further to the south,’ Mr Jackson said.

Dr Jackson said the data collected from the public would be extremely valuable to further research into Australia’s marine environment.

‘We’re certain there is a wealth of potential data out there in the community sitting on computers and phones that is just waiting to be uncovered,’ Dr Jackson said.

Redmap was launched nationally in December 2012, for the first time allowing Western Australians to log photographic reports of any encounters with unusual marine species, through an updated national website.