The Skipper Science Partnership brings your voice and stories to the table with decision makers who are eager to hear from fishermen – Alaska’s eyes and ears on the water.
We want to hear about your experiences and your stories out on the water.
History of SkipperScience
Skipper Science involves many public, private, and tribal organizations that support and help organize this partnership. Skipper Science is an expansion of the Indigenous Sentinels Network (ISN) which has been operating for over 20 years in remote AK communities. The app is one of many in the ISN program and it is essentially an online database and app for non-scientists in remote locations to systematically record and share environmental and biological data that they are observing and monitoring in their communities.
Skipper Science is a smartphone app that contains data standards and protocols built in so that information you collect can be communicated with scientists and managers. It is password protected with privacy protection measures for data that’s submitted, and it does not require Wi-Fi or signal to operate. More importantly, the app and program is flexible and adaptable to community needs. It is a data collection platform, but Skipper Science is also a partnership – we want to help bridge data gaps and amplify fishermen voices while also building relationships and increasing dialogues between coastal resource managers and ocean users.
We launched our first pilot season in the summer of 2021 and received data and observations related to water temperature and weather events, sea bird and marine mammal sightings, and more (read the full report here). Looking to the future, we want to continue to expand and increase the number of participants. We recognize that coastal communities and fishermen understand the changing conditions of their environment better than anyone. Join today and help steer the ship on ocean policy by reporting your observations!
History of monitoring
Alaska has a history of fishermen collecting and reporting data from their experiences. From 1977-1991 the Alaska Trollers Association (ATA) had a standardized annual logbook program, where fishermen gathered biological and physical data used in scientific research, fishery management, and to fight for larger allowable salmon harvests. The hard data gathered from this program allowed for better communication between policy makers and fishermen.
What joining means
The Skipper Science Partnership enables fishermen to report data like fish caught, fish released, hours worked, sea surface temperature, mammal sightings, fishing depth, etc. simply and easily from their phones on the fishing grounds. Data can be logged from the water regardless of internet access through the Skipper Science smartphone app and then can be uploaded when you have Wi-Fi after retuning to land. The program is entirely voluntary and your data protected.
Data collected from each season will be compiled into a report characterizing the ecological status Alaska fishing grounds (e.g., the 2021 Season Report). Reports will be delivered to policy makers and fisheries managers working on climate actions that will help sustain the health of our fisheries.
We also host workshops and dialogues in order to build relationships between scientists, managers, and fishermen. We want to identify a mutually beneficial way that fishermen can work with scientists to assist with remote data collection and observation efforts. The Skipper Science Partnership is made for and by fishermen.
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All photo credits: Chris Miller