Want To Know About The Sushi You're Buying? Applifish, The UN’s New Mobile App, Can Tell You

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  • Salmon 2013
    Salmon for sale in Russia.
  • Norweigian fisherman with a fish
    Norwegian fisherman Trond Ludvigsen shows off a cod after a fishing trip to the Arctic Barents Sea January 31, 2013. Cod tongues are a delicacy in Norway. A cod bonanza off north Norway and Russia and recovery of some fish stocks off developed nations from the United States to Australia have led many scientists to say the future for over-fished world stocks is a bit less bleak.
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Screenshot, Applifish homepage The home page of Applifish, the U.N.-backed mobile help that helps users determine which species of fish on the market are endangered.

Move over Rovio and OMGPOP, creators of popular apps Angry Birds and Draw Something. There’s a new app developer in town: the United Nations. The U.N.’s new app, called AppliFish, is aimed at pescatarians and other seafood lovers who also want to feel environmentally responsible. The app is an encyclopedia of 550 type of marine life, categorized by “endangered,” “vulnerable,” "least concern” and “data deficient,” and includes seasonal migration maps and distribution charts for the various species.  Users will be able to use the app to make more species-friendly choices next time they feel peckish for some pike.

Screenshot, Applifish menu The main menu of Applifish (which is mysteriously missing the letters T, U, and V), gives users a color-coded cheat sheet for which species are endangered, in trouble, or safe to purchase and eat.

Applifish, which is free, was jointly developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization and i-Marine, a European Commission-funded environmental consortium, which originally released the app at the end of January, according to a company press release.  

"With AppliFish, consumers can choose fish that's not endangered, helping ensure that there will be enough for future generations," said FAO's Marc Taconet, senior fishery information officer and chair of the iMarine board, in a press release. "Consumers can also use the application to learn more about species, capture levels and habitats, as well as the level of threats faced by these species."

Worldwide consumption of fish has doubled in the last 50 years, the FAO and i-Marine said, leading to overfishing of certain popular fish species like tuna. A 2012 FAO report said that around 30 percent of the world’s fish stocks were overexploited in 2009. Climate change is also having a devastating effect on species distribution, i-Marine said, which could throw various coastal ecosystems out of balance.

Screenshot of Applifish, species profile Each species has its own profile, complete with size, distribution information, and FAO statistics about the fish.

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