Fishbrain upgraded its Fish Identification with dramatically improved accuracy and a larger database of fish species. Learn more about this upgraded AI and how important proper species identification is to conservation and fish research.
Knowing which species of fish is on the end of your line is important for growing as an angler, following conservation laws and aiding in greater conservation efforts. Identifying a species, however important, isn't always easy. Some species can only be differentiated through subtle color markings and others with specific fin shapes. It's the job of the angler to know which species they are fishing for and which species are in season and can be kept when fishing for food.
Fishbrain’s Fish Identification function helped thousands of anglers ID almost a hundred different fish species across the country. It was a great start, but because of the thousands of different species in the world and the importance of proper identification, there was still work to do.
Now, with summer fishing so close we can feel it, we at Fishbrain are announcing major upgrades to our Fish Identification system.
Changing the process
By changing the order in which someone logs a catch, we can now dramatically increase the accuracy of our identification feature. Now when you log a catch, you will first be prompted to add the location of the catch. Knowing where the catch took place can narrow down which species are found in that region, or state specifically, thus eliminating hundreds of other species.
Don’t worry about privacy, however, as you can still keep your catch location completely secret to other anglers and get a proper identification if you’d like to!
Number of species
Previously Fishbrain’s AI could positively identify 80 of the most popular game fish in the U.S. While that’s not a bad amount of fish, a wise man once suggested there are plenty of fish in the sea.
We studied the most popular sport fishing species in the country and some of the most likely incidental catches to provide accurate identification of over 300 species.
Improved AI and accuracy percentage
In some cases, images are run through two models, one to see if there is a fish and one with all the species. However if there is multiple species that look extremely similar, it will recommend both (example: Quillback and River carpsucker)
The model also suggests fish based on some of your previously logged catches. That’s why a photo with no fish will still display fish suggestions based on your past catches because of the model’s design to do so.
What is the accuracy rate?
For most species the accuracy rate is now between the high 80s and low 90s percentages, and upgraded previously from a high 70s percentage.
Why is this so important?
All anglers need to properly identify their catches to follow local regulations, but proper ID goes beyond following laws at the individual level. Conservation organizations, like the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, deal with species population issues that partially stem from misidentification. Gulf Council information officer Emily Muehlstein says there are serious issues in rebuilding the greater amberjack stocks in the gulf.
According to NOAA FIsheries, the greater amberjack is listed as overfished in the Gulf of Mexico. In Gulf waters the lesser amberjack limit is five, with a much more liberal season, while the greater amberjack has a single fish bag limit with stricter season dates.
Smaller greater amberjacks can look remarkably similar to lesser amberjacks to some anglers and the two species also have different regulations regarding legal size limits. Greater amberjacks need to be at least 34 inches from the fork of the tail, while lessers have a slot limit between 14 and 22 inches. Anglers mistaking these two species are not only breaking fishing laws, but hurting the comeback of the greater amberjack stocks as well.
Muehlstein said improved fish ID can help anglers stay legal by keeping the proper fish and help conservation groups keep better track of these species of interest.
“Self-reported data that includes a (verified) photograph, identification and a measurement could be insane,” she said. “We can't (yet) use self-reported information unless it's verified (by fisheries officials), but this could create a pathway to changing that.”
Muehlstein went on to say issues with fish identification can also stem from confusion around common names and proper species names, like with gag grouper and black grouper. She said these two species, while easy to physically tell apart, get confused for each other because of commonly used names which are incorrect. She went on to say identification power in an anglers pocket could easily solve these mixups with proper education.
Ball State University Biology Professor Paul Venturelli also welcomes the improvements to Fish Identification software for the benefit of the average angler and for scientific studies. Venturelli uses Fishbrain catch data in his research, including a current study looking at climate change effects on the abundance and distribution of game fish.
“What we are looking for is, are these species increasing or decreasing in abundance and how is that changing over time? If we have species that are misidentified it can throw a wrench in our analysis,” Venturelli said. “If we have more confidence in the identification it makes it easier for us to clean up our data.”
Venturelli went on to say that if more anglers have proper ID technology the more likely researchers are to unlock the potential of the data set for the good of conservation and the value of recreational fishing.
He also touted how the new and improved Fish Identification can be for tracking the spread of invasives. If a species is established in a new state, or waterway, anglers can help agencies track these species and their spread by logging them properly.
“You're going to take that picture and you're going to detect it. You can even flag it and send it directly to agency partners,” he Venturelli said. “There's absolutely a lot of advantages there.”
Whether you’re figuring out what’s on your kid’s line at the local pond, or studying catches to rebuild whole populations of fish, check out Fishbrain’s improved Fish Identification function. From a single catch to the greater good of sport fishing altogether, proper identification is one of the keys to the future of sustainable fishing.
Now let's go fishing. We'll identify the fish!
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