Developing citizen science programs through Michigan Sea Grant

Recreational and commercial fisheries are a vital part of Michigan’s heritage, with fisheries valued up to $7 billion annually. Michigan Sea Grant developed several citizen science programs for anglers.

Dan O'Keefe

Recreational and commercial fisheries are a vital part of Michigan’s heritage, with fisheries valued up to $7 billion annually. Michigan Sea Grant Extension supports Great Lakes fisheries through education, outreach and research. Solid resource management begins with solid science. 

Michigan Sea Grant developed several citizen science programs for anglers. The Salmon Ambassadors and Great Lakes Angler Diary app programs provide observations on wild and stocked salmon and other species. Anglers also collected fish stomachs for the Huron-Michigan Fish Diet Study, which is researching the Great Lakes’ changing food web. Michigan Sea Grant created a how-to video and signage, and also gave demonstrations to show proper collection procedures. MSU students currently are analyzing the fish stomachs. All of this information and data will help fisheries scientists and managers understand what (and how much) each gamefish species is eating and may lead to better management and fish stocking decisions. 

In 2017, Salmon Ambassadors and Great Lakes Angler Diary app participants:

  • Recorded usable data on 1,305 Chinook salmon to determine what percentage of the catch were wild versus stocked fish. 
  • Collected a combined total of 146 Chinook salmon snouts that contained microscopic coded wire tags.
  • Submitted complete data for 363 fish of other species and collected 59 fish stomachs.

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