Even the most seasoned of anglers is going to reel in something they don't recognize from time to time. So when that happens, how do you know if it's big enough to keep, or if it's in season, or whether it's good eating? With a quick scan of your catch, the FishVerify app can identify a species, bring up information on its habitat and edibility, and using the phone's GPS, tell you about its size and bag limits in that area.
FishVerify is built on a neural network, a type of artificial intelligence that can be trained on a data set and used to recognize images. In this case, the system was fed 1.5 million images of over 1,000 different species of fish, and the beta version of the app focuses in on 150 of those species, commonly caught in the waters of Florida, where the founders hail from.
Using that growing data set, the aim is that fishers will be able to snap a photo of any fish they catch, and in a matter of seconds have the app tell them what species it is, as well as detailing its physical characteristics, where it can be found, tips on how to catch it, and how edible it is. Existing photos can also be imported, so that weird fish you threw back last time might become less mysterious.
FishVerify can also use your phone's location data to check the local laws and regulations around that particular species, letting you know the size and bag limits, whether it's currently in season, and the state record for biggest catch. The app will automatically geotag your catches too, building up a catch log of when and where you pulled in what. If you're hunting something specific, FishVerify can point you in the right direction by listing species in your local area.
"Our goal is to preserve our local fish populations by providing fishermen of all skill levels with a useful tool that assists with identification and regulations, hopefully encouraging a 'catch and release' mindset," says Chuck Mohr, CEO of FishVerify.
While the app has been trained on the fish and laws of Florida, the creators are planning to expand the reach to other US states and eventually, other countries. The basic app will be free to download and use, but a subscription-based Pro version will be available as well, offering unlimited identification for US$4 a week, $7 a month or $35 per year. Initially it will only be available on iOS, but an Android version is reportedly in the works.
FishVerify is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, where a pledge of $15 or more grants immediate access to the beta version. Higher pledges are rewarded with other loot like towels, t-shirts, stickers, pins and coolers. If all goes to plan, the app should launch in February 2017.
The app can be seen in action in the video below.