Fishing on Your Phone: Apps for the Ocean-Savvy

In recent months, I’ve been hearing snippets of conversation about the use of smartphones for lots of things involving fish: guiding seafood choices, fishing identification, even reporting to the state. Most are free, some cost money, and there’s a bunch that haven’t reached the Android market yet (so no review from me). Feel free to add your own reviews, and iPhone users out there – add to the sketch of a review here. Here’s the results of my app playing:

Fish eating:

The Green Seafood Guide

by Lificious Software, cost: free

Start by browsing a list of “highly recommended”, “good choices”, or “to avoid” for either seafood or sushi – or search for a particular species in the search bar. Either the lists or your search results will link you to the appropriate information sheet on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website. The Aquarium facts sheets aren’t exactly smart-phone friendly, so the text comes up small, but it’s manageable. The search left something to be desired, as a search for “clams” offered me just the farmed variety and routed me directly to these fact sheets rather than telling me the basics firts. The app itself is fairly streamlined and straightforward, with just one basic home screen that also boasts a button “What should I eat today”, that from what I can tell provides a random suggestion from the “highly recommended” seafood list. I’m guessing this is an alternative interface to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s more clunky app. Overall, it’s no more helpful than the card the Aquarium puts out, but less easy to lose and offers links to more information should you feel so compelled.

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SFS Gear Review: Ex Officio Buzz Off Gear

Amongst my field gear is a buzz off shirt, hat, and bandana that were purchased in Alaska to ward off the state bird – the mosquito. Upon arriving to Fairbanks, I realized within the space of a few days that I would need some better bug gear for my tenure there and found a local store stocked with an entire floor of their store featuring buzz off gear.

Ex Officio definitely has a style that carries over into their bug gear, making it a cross between travel gear and classic field clothes. I kind of wish they had included their travel pockets in the shirt, for instance. But they’ve included the buzz off chemical, whatever that may be, into their quick-dry cloth, meaning that you can wash and wear while traveling. Continue reading

SFS Gear Review: The Vehicle

A field vehicle can be just a means of shuttling gear or a home away from home. Most people think of a rough and tumble truck tackling aged logging roads, but depending on your needs and your discipline, something different might play the role. For instance, I work relatively close to home as all of my field sites are less than three hours away by highway and any sample collecting occurs on the water, generally in a borrowed boat (something this series will come to later). Continue reading

SFS Gear Review: Keen Hybrid Life

Everyone’s seen the Keen sandals – the ones that characterize the feet of kayakers all over and arguably create their own style. Keen, however, also offers shoes more in line with their motto of “hybrid life” – that is, they are supposed to be good for a life on-the-go for someone who only wants to carry one pair of shoes.

I received such a pair as a birthday gift from my mother – the source of most shoes in my life. She bought them because they were “cute” and because they came in green, a color that pervades my wardrobe. So they’ve passed the mom test on style. How’d they do on function? Continue reading