Make your catch count in fisheries management
An electronic reporting app and web-portal for recreational anglers in the South Atlantic
We are excited to announce an opportunity for fishermen to voluntarily report their catch through the MyFishCount website and smartphone app! After hearing the requests of fishermen across the region, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in partnership with the Snook and Gamefish Foundation, created MyFishCount. MyFishCount is a recreational reporting app and website (MyFishCount.com) pilot project that allows recreational fishermen to report information about their trips and catches. Our hope is MyFishCount will complement current fishery monitoring programs and allow anglers to provide timely data to fishery scientists and managers.
The MyFishCount website was used during the 2017 South Atlantic red snapper mini-season. Over 350 anglers made MyFishCount member profiles and 341 trips were reported. The website also allowed anglers to report trips where anglers intended to fish but could not due to poor weather or other reasons. Anglers who reported that they could not fish because of poor weather conditions through MyFishCount helped in the decision to reopen the fishery for an additional weekend. To view the information reported by anglers through the MyFishCount website, click here. We are improving MyFishCount based on your feedback. The improved app and website will also allow you to report any saltwater fish you catch.
The new mobile App version of
MyFishCount will be available June 2018!
Visit the Council YouTube channel for videos showing how to report a fishing trip through the MyFishCount mobile App.
The app and website are extremely flexible. They allow you to report as little or as much detail as you would like to provide. When more information is provided, more can be learned about our fisheries and reporting. MyFishCount can provide key information not collected in the current monitoring programs.
Here are a few examples where data from recreational anglers could help manage fisheries better:
Information on Released Fish
The number of released fish is increasing. In some fisheries, the number of released fish is more than the number of kept fish. This information is important because some fish are foul hooked, eaten when they are put back, suffer from barotrauma (a condition caused when a fish is rapidly reeled to the surface from deep depths resulting in the inflation of organs from expanded gases), and do not survive after being released. There are several factors that can affect if a fish will survive after it is released. Some of these factors include: the length and weight of the fish, how the fish was released, the depth where the fish was caught, type of hook used, air and water temperature, and more. Reporting this information through MyFishCount helps fishery managers understand why and how many fish die after being released.
Provide Photos to Confirm Length and Identification Assistance
Use your smartphone to take photos of fish that were caught or released and upload them to MyFishCount. Fishery scientists can use this information to confirm the reported length and identification of the fish. If you aren't sure of the species you caught, a scientist can identify the species for you after your trip is submitted.
If You Were Unable to Fish
Access to fishing days is important. When a fishery is only open for a short season, like red snapper, it is important for fishery managers to know if anglers were able to fish. MyFishCount gives anglers the chance to report if they were able to fish, and if not, the reason why.
Help Managers Learn More About Recreational Reporting
Your help in MyFishCount is critical for the development of future recreational reporting tools in the South Atlantic region. The more participation we receive, the more trips we can compare with the current monitoring program.
Become a Better Angler
MyFishCount does more than just count fish. It is a tool that allows anglers to create their own personal fishing logs. Being able to see what you did on earlier trips will help you keep track of what, when, where worked for you and what didn't work so well. MyFishCount may help you become a better angler. Your fishing log and data will be kept confidential. Please see the "Data are Confidential" section below for more information.
Provide More Data
MyFishCount provides data in addition to the current monitoring program, the Marine Recreational Information Program, also known as "MRIP." MRIP estimates the number of fish caught and how often people fish by interviewing fishermen at docks and through mail-based surveys. MRIP interviews enough anglers from most fisheries to estimate catch well. But fewer anglers fish for offshore species. Those offshore fishing trips are less likely to be "caught" by MRIP interviewers.
In the infographic example below, the green individuals are anglers who fish for flounder, the gray anglers are anglers who fish for red drum, and the blue individuals are anglers who fish for snapper grouper species. The anglers in the circle are individuals who were interviewed after their fishing trips.
As seen in the infographic, several flounder and red drum fishermen were interviewed providing an accurate representation of the fisheries. Unfortunately, only one snapper grouper fisherman was interviewed.
Adding information to the current monitoring program with MyFishCount will help us learn about fishing trips that are not sampled very often.
Data speak. And all of us at the Snook and Gamefish Foundation and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council are interested in what it has to tell us. What could we learn?
Inform Future Decisions on Recreational Reporting
Your use of the MyFishCount website or app will help make decisions for future recreational reporting projects and management. The app is available now.
Improve Understanding of Angler Behavior and Trends
How fisheries are managed could be influenced by knowing more about trends in fishing behavior. For example, MyFishCount can help managers estimate the number of anglers treating fish that experience barotrauma (a condition caused when a fish is rapidly reeled to the surface from deep depths resulting in the inflation of organs from expanded gases)through either venting or descending procedures. In turn, managers can better estimate how many fish die when released.
Improve Estimates of Released Fish
Fishery managers use estimates of the amount of fish that live or die after they are released to make management decisions. But those estimates can be uncertain. Issues like this concern all anglers. Managers need more information about released fish to make better decisions in the future.
Improve Fisheries Management
The impacts to the fish and people who fish for them must be examined for every management decision. Sometimes there are not enough data to make an informed decision. The more information received from anglers like you, the better managers can understand how changes may impact everyone who likes to fish.
Data Are Confidential
Your individual data are confidential. That means information about your personal trips and catches will never be shared. Information from your trips will be combined with at least three other fishermen (on other vessels) when describing a fisheries catch and effort. Fishing locations will be no smaller to 2 square mile blocks and at least three anglers reporting in that location.
The following information was provided by FishSmart. For more best fishing practices visit, www.fishsmart.org. Follows these tips to ensure safe and responsible angling.
|Time is of the essence!||
What are some best fishing practices for fish caught at deep depths?
The following information was provided by FishSmart. For more best fishing practices visit, www.fishsmart.org.
|Assess condition while reeling in fish||Signs of barotrauma include (any or all of the following):
|Return to Depth||
What is Barotrauma?
Fish experience barotrauma, a condition caused by a change in pressure, when a fish is rapidly reeled to the surface. The change in pressure causes air in the swimbladder to expand and prevents the fish from being able to swim back down to the bottom. The inflated swimbladder acts like a “floatie” for children and keeps the fish at the surface. Barotrauma can occur when fish are brought up from depths as shallow as 30 feet. It is most common in fish reeled up from greater than 90 feet and becomes more severe when reeled up from deeper depths. Descending devices can be used to return fish back to the bottom. Signs of barotrauma are displayed in the pictures below.
Hook type can influence the survivorship of released fish because certain hooks types are more likely to hook fish in the jaw. A jaw hooked fish is more likely to survive when released than a fish hooked in the stomach, eye, or gill. Please note:
- Non-offset circle hooks are less likely to cause injury than other hook types.
Non-offset Circle Hook
Offset J Hook
Hooks were provided by Charleston Angler.
In a study by Bacheler and Buckel (2004), scientists investigated if the type of hook used while fishing impacted the number of grouper caught, the size of grouper, and the number of grouper injured by hooks. The scientists found that when circle hooks were used, injuries from hooks to groupers and other non-target species significantly decreased.
In another study, researchers looked at the amount of red snapper deaths due to hook related injuries. This information was developed by Sauls et al. in 2016 and presented in SEDAR 41. As displayed in the table below, non-offset circle hooks have the lowest chance of potentially lethal hooking.
|Hook-Type||Lip or Jaw||Potentially Lethal Location||Percent Potentially Lethal|
|Other (Kahle, Treble)||19||3||13.6%|
The Hook Location is used to estimate release mortality.
Circle hooks are required when fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters north of 28 degrees North. This is approximately located east of Juan Ponce Park in Melbourne Beach, Florida.
The Results are in!
Thank you to all who reported through MyFishCount during the 2017 red snapper mini-season. Overall a total of 360 anglers created MyFishCount member profiles and 341 trips (completed and abandoned) were reported. The figures below summarize the preliminary information collected during the 2017 red snapper mini-season based on MyFishCount reports.
Weather played a significant role during the 2017 red snapper mini-season. For weekends two and three, less than 2% of trips were reported as completed and most were abandoned (trips reported where anglers intended to fish but could not) as a result of poor weather conditions. Data from MyFishCount were considered in the fishery reopening for an additional weekend. Although few anglers were able to fish during the December weekend, an additional weekend in 2017 will not be possible due to the upcoming holidays and the time needed to document catches and process a regulatory notice to reopen through the rulemaking process.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council sent Amendment 43, which recommends revising the process for opening the red snapper fishery to allow for mini-seasons beginning in 2018, to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). If Amendment 43 is approved by NMFS/Secretary of Commerce, the 2018 red snapper season will open the 2nd Friday in July (July 13th) based on previous regulations. We are hoping for better weather in July.
The MyFishCount pilot reporting platform will close at the end of this week to the public in order to be improved, based on user feedback, and modified into a mobile app to improve ease of reporting. It will also allow the reporting of other species. The pilot app will be available for use in 2018.
Thank you again to all those who reported through MyFishCount. If you would like to become involved in the piloting of the app in 2018 or provide feedback on the 2017 red snapper mini-season MyFishCount reporting platform, please contact Kelsey Dick (Kelsey.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chip Collier (email@example.com). Thank you all for your time and support.
The figures below are summarized data from all weekends of the 2017 red snapper mini-season with information through December 15, 2017.
|TRIP STATUS||NUMBER OF TRIPS||PERCENT|
Table 1. The number and percent of trips that were reported as completed and abandoned through MyFishCount through Dec. 15, 2017.
Red Snapper Kept and Released
Figure 1. Percent of red snapper kept and released by size categories reported through MyFishCount. Most anglers released fish under 20 inches and kept fish greater than 30 inches.
Red Snapper Release Treatment
Figure 3. Release treatments of red snapper reported through MyFishCount. Almost half of the anglers who reported release treatment of fish through MyFishCount used descending devices to release red snapper.
Figure 4. Release treatment of red snapper based on depth. Most anglers who released fish in 100 feet or more of water indicated they descended or vented fish. This could be attributed to the fact that fish are more likely to experience and exhibit symptoms of barotrauma when reeled up from depths greater than 90 feet.
MyFishCount Red Snapper Lengths and Weights Compared to SEDAR 41
Figure 5. Red snapper lengths and weights reported through MyFishCount compared to red snapper length and weights from SEDAR 41. The line in this figure represents the length and weights for red snapper from SEDAR 41 (the last stock assessment completed for red snapper in 2017). Each point represents a length and weight for red snapper reported by an angler. The SEDAR 41 lines falls between the points reported by anglers, indicating the lengths and weights reported by anglers are similar to the lengths and weights from SEDAR 41.
Figure 6. Percent of red snapper (kept and released) from federal waters with location of capture reported through MyFishCount during the 2017 red snapper mini-season. These percentages add to a total of 87% and not 100% because some fish were landed in state waters or reported by anglers on land.
Partners in MyFishCount