Every fisher knows that you can never guarantee what’s at the other end of the line when you start reeling in your prized catch, especially within diverse coastal areas and reefs. Many a time you can be left guessing what you have caught and whether it’s legal size and safe for consumption.

The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Coastal Fisheries Programme has developed an innovative mobile application (app) that can identify fishes and invertebrates from Pacific Island countries and territories. With the Pacific Islands fishes and invertebrates identification (PacFishID) app, approximately 320 of the most common species of coastal sharks, rays and bony fishes can be easily identified at the click of a button.

The app is based on SPC’s earlier publication titled, Identification guide to the common coastal food fishes of the Pacific Islands region, which assists fisheries officers to identify common coastal food fishes found in catches or during market surveys.

The publication of the identification guide was the opportunity to take the next step in the project as photos and species information were now available, and develop a learning app that uses that dataset to demonstrate the tool’, said Coastal Fisheries Information and Database Manager, Mr Franck Magron.

Currently, there is only one set of data available, but there are plans to include additional datasets such as aquarium fishes, invertebrates and the development of additional features for the PacFishID app.

‘As we felt this would be of interest to a large public, we decided to develop an app targeting all common mobile operating systems – Google Android, Windows 10, Windows 10 phones and Apple (IOS). The app is available on Apple, Google Play and Windows Store’, said Mr Magron.

One of the major advantages of PacFishID is being able to easily determine if the fishes caught are under or above size at maturity, especially for commercial purposes, which also helps answer questions relating to the breeding patterns of various fish species.

‘The species information is important for management as well as for enforcement, as some species are protected and fishing regulation can be specific to a species or group of species’, said Mr Magron.

The new app will also provide a training platform for fisheries officers around the region. ‘Around 300 coastal species are commonly caught by fishermen, and therefore you need to assist and train fisheries officers on the identification of these species’, said Mr Magron.

The app can be downloaded for free from:


You can also download the publication: