RECORD OF FISH OBSERVATIONS IN THE AMAZON
Ictio is an application and database on Amazonian migratory fish, built through collaboration between local and indigenous people, individual fishermen, management groups, associations and scientists.
Developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and project partners, the database and free application for mobile devices allow fish observations to be recorded and shared.
We seek to understand how fish migrations work in the Amazon Basin and what environmental factors influence these migrations.
The citizen science approach allows us to address the information gaps in Amazon preservation, drastically reduces the cost of gathering this information and empowers citizens to become guardians of aquatic ecosystems.
More information: www.ictio.org
Ictio allows you to record:
- Number of individuals
- Weight (kg) / Total weight
- Selling price
Users can view and share their data, as well as keep a record of the species they catch over time. With all this generated information, we will seek to further our understanding of the migration patterns of priority fish in the Amazon.
- Ictio app: The application is available for free on Google Play for Android devices (minimum version 5.0) and does not require an Internet connection to work. Users will be able to view and share their data, as well as keep track of the species they catch over time.
- Data upload: in addition to the Ictio app, data can be uploaded to Ictio.org using the data upload tool available on this website.
- Access to data: a basic data set will be available quarterly online at ictio.org. Partners will have access to an extended database and observers themselves will have access to their full data. Visit Ictio.org to learn more.
Vanessa Correa, Gina Leite, Tatiana Onzaga
Ictio is a data management system with two tools, the application and database on Amazonian migratory fishes. Its development was led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in collaboration with partners from the Citizen Science Network for the Amazon, and the participation of representatives from indigenous peoples, communities, management groups, fishermen associations, individual fishermen and scientists.
Ictio seeks to connect citizens throughout the Amazon basin to collect and share information on fish species important to the Amazon’s freshwater ecosystems and the people who benefit from them.
This page tells a summary of the story of Ictio’s development result of the Network’s union and collaboration. It was a long road from the origin of Ictio. Each step was the product of meetings, consultations, research and information, careful systematizations and the willingness of the Ictio community, from the choice of the name to the last update.
Follow this path to learn more about this history and recognize this collective effort, which was carried out with the expectation that Ictio will continue to be the system that unites informed and empowered citizens to actively contribute to the sustainable management of fisheries and the conservation of freshwater ecosystems in the Amazon.
Soon new actualizations.
Release of Version 3.1.
In August 2022, Version 3.1 of the Ictio application was released, with 14 new fishing sites and with a solution for checklist submission errors. The Android system produced the submission bug list by deleting users’ login credentials. With these updates, more recurring fishing sites can be used, and users will enjoy a more fluid app.
Launching of the Ictio photo library
In October 2021, we launched an important update on Ictio.org, which provided access to the photo library, where you can see the photos that users send along with their fish checklists. It is possible to filter by location, time period, species, and user, among other filters.
The Supervisors Team was formed, which will be in charge of data quality assurance and control. These are partners who will supervise the data and will be available for any questions the user may have regarding the use of the Ictio application.
Release of Version 3.0
In September 2021, Ictio Version 3.0 had two major updates: anonymity settings and the inclusion of 10 new species.
Anonymity settings: users now have the option to provide authorization or not, for their names to be associated with the photos and data sent through Ictio. The initial configuration is anonymous, but if the user wishes to modify the configuration, he or she just has to go to the main menu, then to Settings, click on “Name associated with your records” and choose between the two options: 1. Name and surname that you use in your account, or 2. Anonymous.
Ictio now has 31 species: species that make long and medium migrations, paiche, and other species of economic importance such as those that support large fisheries.
In addition, the common names of the fishes are updated. Through intensive work, the fish collaboration group was able to compile – and agree to communicate – those common names that represent the species in each country.
As of this date, Ictio had 626 fishing sites registered. Those interested in requesting the inclusion of new fishing sites should follow these instructions.
In March 2020, within the framework of the Citizen Science Network for the Amazon, we formalized the fish collaboration group under the governance of the Network; we reactivated the participation of the group of specialists and involved people interested in strengthening the citizen participation component. Some of the important challenges identified in this new phase were the expansion of the taxonomy registered in the app, the definition of priority watersheds for Ictio expansion, the analysis of data to have a better understanding of technology development priorities and engagement strategies, to provide inputs for data interpretation/visualization and to organize ourselves to support data quality control.
Since 2018, the partners have been developing engagement activities for the implementation of Ictio. Among these activities, it is important to highlight the organization of fishermen meetings led by Ecoporé, IBC, and Mamirauá in Porto Velho, Pucallpa, and Tefé. The goal of these meetings was to connect Ictio users, organized fishermen, public officials and researchers to discuss the implementation of the project, exchange experiences and knowledge, and lay out the objectives and priorities for the next stages of work.
Learn more about the fishermen’s meetings:
In April 2019, we launched Version 2.5 of Ictio. which includes the My Ictio tool, where the users can visualize their fishing diary, trends of their own data, and sort it by species and fish checklists.
Launch of Upload Tool
An important component was included on Ictio.org, the upload tool and data download. This tool allows uploading large amounts of entries in .csv files, which allows organizations to upload their data and have it become part of Ictio. Ictio data is available in two forms:
- The Core Dataset is published online at www.ictio.org and will be updated quarterly (open access). This dataset will include all observational data and comments and will include the basin (Level 4) where it was collected. However, this dataset will not include precise locations, first and last names of collectors, or their email address. In this way, the data will remain anonymous and privacy will be protected.
- The Extended Data Set is available to Ictio’s research and conservation partners who are responsible for data stewardship. This dataset will include the precise locations of data collection and user ID. First and last names, and email address are not included.
Users can request a full copy of their own data by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from the same email and user ID that is logged into their Ictio account.
Creation of the Citizen Science Network for the Amazon.
Release of Version 2.0
In December 2018, Ictio started to use three protocols: Before Fishing, After Fishing, and Market. The protocol “Research a Market”, is intended to establish records at the points of sale of fish, taking into account that the exact place of fishing is not known and that the selling price of the fish by an intermediary – not necessarily the fisherman – is considered.
With this Version, variables were added to estimate fishing effort required, such as the number of fishermen and duration of fishing, besides the sale price. Additionally, the paiche (Arapaima sp.) was added to the list of Ictio species. The paiche is commercially important and is subject to management and fishing agreements.
In August 2018, we launched a new version of Ictio including new fishing sites. As Ictio expanded, we, the partners, found it necessary to include fishing sites in the app; that is, when starting a new listing in the app and selecting the “Choose a location” protocol, it was now possible to find a number of known fishing locations.
Starting with this Version, two updates were made to improve communication between the app and the ictio.org platform. On one hand, the number of photos was limited to one per species and, on the other hand, the checklists data and pictures were now uploaded separately.
On July 24, Ictio was officially launched at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito as part of the activities of the “Aquatrop 2018 Congress: tropical aquatic ecosystems in the anthropocene”.
The app is available free of charge for Android cell phones starting with Version 5.0. The tool is available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese and this version included 20 ecologically and economically important migratory fish species and two data collection protocols:
- During fishing. This protocol uses GPS as a tracker of the distance effort made by the angler during fishing. It must be activated before fishing to obtain the complete distance of the fishing trip until the end of it.
- Record the location. This records the location where the fish was caught. The best time to use it is when the user has finished their fishing operation.
In this version it was possible to take several pictures of a single species and few fishing sites were pre-registered in the app.
During the Second Partners Meeting in Iquitos we launched the beta version of the app in three languages: in order to get feedback from the project community. The test design was adjusted between April and July.
Call to name the application
In February 2018, the project community was convened to recommend an app name that could be used in all Amazonian countries and outside the Amazon Basin. The creative capacity of the group was impressive. In the first phase of the work, the community proposed 50 names and in the second phase we conducted a webinar with focus groups to discuss pros and cons of nine of the names presented. In the third phase nine names were put up for discussion and in the final phase we decided to name the app Ictio.
Meetings to provide feedback on the design of the application for recording fish observations took place. As part of the Citizen Science for the Amazon Project, we formed a working group with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology team to work on the design of the app that we will use to record fish observations. During five virtual and face-to-face meetings between November and December 2017, Cornell presented the ‘wire frames’ (screenshots of the app) to validate the proposed observation protocol.
In August 2017 we launched the collaboration group for the development of the platform and app for fishes. Initially, the group was composed of Carlos Cañas, Mariana Varese, Michael Goulding, Gina Leite (WCS), Helder Queiroz (Mamirauá Institute), Chris Wood (CLO), Urbano Lopes (ICMBio, in memoriam) and Sebastian Heilpern (Columbia University). The group’s mandate was to support the conceptual design and implementation of the fish platform, including the definition of variables and protocols. This was also the first collaboration group created in the project and served as a model for the other collaboration groups that were formed later on. With the conceptual discussions completed, Cullen, Gina and Sebastian formed the core group of Ictio. Between 2017 and 2019 they conducted several community consultations and systematized feedback and key processes to guide the development and definition of priorities for the initial phase.
First Partners Meeting
The First Partners Meeting was the event that marked the beginning of the Citizen Science for the Amazon project and the process of developing the Amazonian migratory fish observation recording tool. WCS and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology made a commitment to developing a solution inspired by eBird successful experience.