Fishing apps are becoming increasingly popular among anglers, as they provide a convenient way to access the regulations and other information needed for a successful fishing trip. The Fish Rules app is one such application that stands out from the rest. It uses your phone's GPS and calendar to show only the regulations you need, and also provides detailed information about specific species, including seasons, minimum size, daily limit, and vessel limit. With this useful tool, anglers can save time, confusion and potential fines. Despite the large number of applications available for use in many different fisheries, it is still difficult to determine the exact scale of use of all the applications identified.
Download statistics can be used as a measure of acceptance, but they are not equivalent to a measure of regular use and, in many cases, download statistics are not publicly available. Developers must devote appropriate time and resources to design and development stages in order to increase the likelihood that the applications developed will meet the requirements of the end user. It would be beneficial to expand this work to better determine the usage rates of smartphone applications in fishing, going deeper to find out how often the applications are used and by how many people or boats. For more technical anglers, fishing apps also include detailed features such as information about tides, weather forecasts and solunar calendars. The prevalence of applications available in different fisheries could be due to search in English or it could indicate that the size of a fishery is not necessarily related to the design and use of the applications.
Several of the applications highlighted provide weather forecasts to help reduce risks faced by anglers at sea. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), researchers and fishermen themselves have developed other applications, each of which can cover the costs of developing and storing data to ensure that the objectives of the applications are met. As has been seen with applications developed in response to challenges arising from COVID-19, applications can also be developed quickly to address problems that suddenly arise in fishing. Based on Sun Tables theory, some apps help anglers find perfect conditions, precise diets for all types of fish and wildlife and exact locations of their habitats. This review provides a synthesis of information from several sources, including scientific literature, gray literature and app store searches, to provide an overview of current scope and purpose of smartphone application use in commercial wild catch fishing. It has been found that approximately 8% of ships use a particular suite of applications. While larger commercial vessels may have space and infrastructure for numerous pieces of hardware used to inform their fishing practices, this is not always the case with smaller boats.
Smartphone apps can replicate functionality of some equipment and can be used without an Internet connection with data loaded once back within range of signal - particularly applicable for fishing carried out by larger boats. The identified apps were distributed in countries around the world but there are likely omissions. It cannot be assumed that smartphone apps will only be used in commercial fishing in countries identified in this review. Therefore, it is important for anglers to understand regulations tracking features included in most fishing apps so they can make informed decisions when planning their trips.