In a bid to encourage citizen science initiatives in marine fisheries research, the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has launched an innovative mobile app ‘Marlin@CMFRI’. The app is a gateway for comprehensive media sharing and is aimed to transform marine fishery research, species identification, and assessment efforts within India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

‘Marlin@CMFRI’ helps the public to upload photos of marine fish species encountered in the vast expanse of the Indian EEZ, leading to the development of a rich visual repository of marine fishery resources. The app encourages users to provide species details ensuring that the database is scientifically enriched, facilitating accurate species identification. This data will contribute to the development of a sophisticated, AI-powered system for automated identification of marine fishery resources.

Geo-tagging is a pivotal feature of this mobile app that enables users to pinpoint the exact location where each marine species was landed. This data enhances the precision of the database, providing crucial information for researchers and conservationists studying the distribution patterns of various species within the Indian EEZ.

The app is a collaborative platform that unites individuals passionate about marine conservation, said A Gopalakrishnan, CMFRI Director. By bridging the gap between citizen science and cutting-edge technology, ‘Marlin@CMFRI’ transforms every user into a crucial contributor to the understanding and preservation of marine biodiversity, he added.

The app was developed under a project led by Eldho Varghese at the Fishery Resources Assessment, Economics and Extension division of CMFRI.

The knowledge base generated by this application will lead to the creation of an automated system for estimating marine fish landings through visual images captured at landing centres, employing advanced AI-driven deep learning algorithms, he said.