Introducing the Fish Health Tracker
Do you spend time on Canada’s rivers, lakes, and coasts?
Do you care about the health of fish in Canada?
Use our Fish Health Tracker Tool today!
What is The Fish Health Tracker? The Fish Health Tracker is a new tool that allows you to record observations on fish health quickly and easily, either in real-time using an app on your mobile phone or online when you get back to shore using the desktop app. Any observations can be reported, including healthy fish, fish that look abnormal or that are acting unusual, the presence of invasive aquatic species, or fish impacted by environmental issues such as contamination with chemicals.
Why is this important? Canada has a lot of rivers and lakes and the longest coastline in the world – that is a lot of water to cover when trying to monitor Canada’s fish populations! Scientists with government and non-government agencies cannot monitor all of this water alone, so they need help from citizen scientists – people like you who spend time on (and in) the water, enjoy fishing, watching wildlife, or any activity that brings you into contact with Canada’s fish population. By reporting what you see in the wild, you can help scientists determine:
- What fish species are present in Canada;
- If the fish are healthy (no significant disease present);
- What types of diseases or health issues are impacting fish;
- If there is a new, emerging, or foreign fish disease present; and
- If there are invasive aquatic species present
How does it work? The mobile or desktop app lets you enter information on fish species, health, and disease symptoms that will alert both government and non-governmental agencies to respond and investigate a potential problem if needed. After you enter your observation, a project scientist will review the information and classify it appropriately, whether it is information that supports the presence of a healthy fish population or information that indicates a problem. If a problem is suspected, the scientist may contact you for further information and/or alert local authorities to conduct a more in-depth investigation. By reporting what you see, scientists can respond much more quickly to a potential health issue, hopefully preventing it from spreading.
I’m in! How do I get involved? Anyone who is interested in protecting wild fish can be a citizen scientist by reporting sightings of fish – either normal or abnormal – through the desktop app or by downloading a mobile app onto your phone:
- Google Play
- Apple Store
Where can I get more information? The Fish Health Tracker Tool is a collaborative project between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System (CAHSS), and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC). All reports created using data from The Fish Health Tracker Tool will be posted on the CAHSS website. Questions and comments can be sent to FHTReply@animalhealthcanada.ca.
Thank you for doing your part to help protect Canada’s fish and aquatic ecosystems!
Judy Hodge, Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System