Gigapixel big data movies provide cost-effective seascape scale direct measurements of open-access coastal human use such as recreational fisheries
Flynn, DJH and Lynch, TP and Barrett, NS and Wong, LSC and Devine, C and Hughes, D, Gigapixel big data movies provide cost-effective seascape scale direct measurements of open-access coastal human use such as recreational fisheries, Ecology and Evolution, 8, (18) pp. 9372-9383. ISSN 2045-7758 (2018) [Refereed Article]
Collecting data on unlicensed open‐access coastal activities, such as some types of recreational fishing, has often relied on telephone interviews selected from landline directories. However, this approach is becoming obsolete due to changes in communication technology such as a switch to unlisted mobile phones. Other methods, such as boat ramp interviews, are often impractical due to high labor cost. We trialed an autonomous, ultra‐high‐resolution photosampling method as a cost effect solution for direct measurements of a recreational fishery. Our sequential photosampling was batched processed using a novel software application to produce "big data" time series movies from a spatial subset of the fishery, and we validated this with a regional bus‐route survey and interviews with participants at access points. We also compared labor costs between these two methods. Most trailer boat users were recreational fishers targeting tuna spp. Our camera system closely matched trends in temporal variation from the larger scale regional survey, but as the camera data were at much higher frequency, we could additionally describe strong, daily variability in effort. Peaks were normally associated with weekends, but consecutive weekend tuna fishing competitions led to an anomaly of high effort across the normal weekday lulls. By reducing field time and batch processing imagery, Monthly labor costs for the camera sampling were a quarter of the bus‐route survey; and individual camera samples cost 2.5% of bus route samples to obtain. Gigapixel panoramic camera observations of fishing were representative of the temporal variability of regional fishing effort and could be used to develop a cost‐efficient index. High‐frequency sampling had the added benefit of being more likely to detect abnormal patterns of use. Combinations of remote sensing and on‐site interviews may provide a solution to describing highly variable effort in recreational fisheries while also validating activity and catch.