Paving the way for better data

Posted 1/6/21

The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Harbor Lights Software have been awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to develop an electronic monitoring

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Paving the way for better data


The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Harbor Lights Software have been awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to develop an electronic monitoring pilot program for volunteer angler reporting.

The pilot project aims to create a volunteer recreational angler logbook for use on tablets and smart phones to collect recreational data on catch and effort from the angling public, and to promote the usage of the software among recreational anglers in Rhode Island. This project specifically seeks to develop, test and pilot innovative solutions to address inadequate insight into the impact of recreational fishing on fisheries management in the state of Rhode Island.

Steve Medeiros, RISAA president, said, “Better recreational fishing date is crucial to recreational fishing. Electronic recording and monitoring is part of the solution and this grant will help prove that. We are excited to work with RI DEM and Harbor Lights Software on this important project. The hope is that better recreational fishing data to complement MRIP date will lead to healthier fish stocks so we have more fish in the water for all of us to catch, eat and/or release.”

The project will apply electronic technologies (ET) to improve the timeliness and quality of fisheries data available to Rhode Island fisheries management personnel, increase knowledge of fisheries for management, industry and science purposes, and empower fishermen and other citizens to become more actively involved in the data collection process.

Francine Karp, CEO and co-founder of Harbor Lights Software, said, “The data processing aspects of this project consists of a mobile application compatible with Android and iOS phones and tablets, which will report data to a cloud-hosted software service which will manage the storage of the data.”

The data base created by the software is being developed to provide secure access to the data by Rhode Island Division of Marine Fisheries to enhance their fisheries management activities.

Francine Karp said, “Supplemental capabilities will be developed, based on feedback from the recreational fishing community for the purposes of encouraging continued usage of the application, which provide information to anglers based on their fishing efforts, the efforts of the community at-large, or supplemental information of value such as weather and tide data, fishing regulations, species identification guides and more.”

Steve Medeiros said, “This is where we need angler participation and input. To determine what software features would first entice an angler to sign up to use the software and second what features would engage anglers to continue to use the software on a regular basis in year two.”

John Lake, Supervising Biologist from the RI Division of Marine Fisheries, is the pilot project coordinator. The project is expected to help fish mangers get a better idea of recreational fishing discards as well as the length of fish caught and discarded.

John Lake said, “Discard data collected by MRIP APAIS interviews on the shore or at the dock is based on angler recall, currently there is no way to evaluate the accuracy of these angler-reported discards. The data collected from this application will provide an additional source of data on these unobserved discards for comparison.”

Discard size measurements of recreational angling are now collected by direct observation on head/party boats. It is unknown if these samples represent the discards in the other modes of the recreational fishery.

“Data collected by this application will allow managers to compare the discards from other modes of recreational fishing to the head boat discard data,” said Lake. What RISAA is doing

RISAA is providing the project with participants to both help design the software to make it appealing to use in the short and long term. Additionally, RISAA is helping to cultivate and recruit recreational anglers that will actually use the software as a pilot project participant.

How can you engage in the project?

If you fish and land your recreational catch in Rhode Island consider being a pilot project participant. RISAA and DEM will soon be signing up anglers for the project and will post participant forms on their website. But in the meantime if you have any questions and want to express your interest in the project contact me (Dave Monti) as I am serving as the RISAA project coordinator, email me at or call 401.480.3444. Trees for trout

The Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited #225 has teamed up once again with the Department of Environmental Management to ecocycle your Christmas tree during their Trees for Trout program.

The program aims to improve habitat for wild trout and other aquatic organisms. The trees are strategically installed in streams and rivers to reduce erosion, provide refuge habitat, and stabilize stream banks. No synthetic trees, trees with tinsel/other synthetic materials still attached, or trees sprayed with fire retardant chemicals are allowed.

Drop off you tree at the Arcadia Check Station off RT 165, Ten Rod Road, at Wood River, Exeter from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9. Trout Unlimited Chapter 225 volunteers will be collecting the trees and loading them onto a trailer. Trout Unlimited and partners awarded $180,000 grant

Trout Unlimited Chapter #225 in Rhode Island in partnership with the Rhode Island Water Resources Board has been awarded an $180,000 National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Grant to conduct a native brook trout inventory, water temperature study, and a fisheries barrier assessment with the Big River Management Area (BRMA) located in central Rhode Island. Half of the grant will be in matching contributions such as volunteer time donated by Trout Unlimited members and others.

Study information will be used to develop a report which will outline implementation projects and goals to enhance brook trout habitat and protect water quality with the 22 plus miles of mapped streams with the BRMA.

EA Engineering, Science and Technology Inc. PBC has been select to manage the project. Where’s the bite?

Freshwater fishing in ponds stocked with trout has been very good. For 2021 licensing information and a list of trout stocked ponds in Rhode Island visit; and in Massachusetts visit

Cod fishing. Party boats fishing for cod this winter include the Frances Fleet at , the Seven B’s at, and the Island Current at

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at or visit

fishing, No Fluke


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