Private Recreational Electronic Reporting

MyFishCount

Make your catch count in fisheries management

An electronic reporting app and web-portal for recreational anglers in the South Atlantic

MyFishCount.com

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.


Please remember this is a pilot project. Information collected here may be used for future management. Or, the information could be used to improve data collection for the future. Either way, your entries are important, helpful, and valuable.

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 currently in the design phase and will be available in June 2018.

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.

If you have any questions or comments about the project, please contact us through the information provided below.
Kelsey Dick
Kelsey.dick@safmc.net
843-725-7580
Chip Collier
Chip.collier@safmc.net
843-302-8444

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.

 

Plan Ahead
  • Expect to release fish on any given trip and prepare the equipment necessary to do so. Know your fishing regulations.
Avoidance
  • Develop skills to target the size and species you desire.
  • Catch & release is ok, but if catching too many fish that you cannot, or do not want to keep, change the depth that you are fishing, move to a different area, or use different bait.
Appropriate Gear
  • Use gear suited to the size of fish that you are trying to catch including the size of hooks that catch fish that you want but not others.
  • Use circle hooks where recommended and be aware that fishing techniques are different from “J” style hooks. For more information about the impact of hook types and South Atlantic hook regulations see the sections below.
Landing Fish
  • Don’t play fish to exhaustion.
  • Use line strength to minimize playing time.
  • Land the fish as quickly as possible.
  • If possible, leave them in the water rather than bringing them out of the water.
Handling Fish
  • Use knotless rubberized landing nets and rubberized gloves, to avoid removing the slime layer from their body.
  • Keep the fish horizontal; support the body when lifting large fish.
  • DON’T DROP THE FISH onto hard surfaces or long distances! This causes great harm.
Releasing Fish
  • If needed, use a release tool (dehookers, recompression tools) to minimize handling and successfully release your catch.
Time is of the essence!
  • Release fish as soon as practical and do not keep them out of the water longer than necessary.

 

 

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):

  • Sluggish swimming.
  • “pop eye.”
  • stomach protruding from mouth.
  • Bloated mid-section.
  • Learn more about barotrauma in the section “What is Barotrauma” below.
  • If the fish appears normal release it without removing it from the water.
Recompression
  • Rapidly returning fish to depth (“recompression”) is the method of choice for returning barotrauma affected fish.
  • A variety of recompression tools are on the market, including descender devices, release weights, release baskets, and others.
  • Click the video here to see various recompression tools in action.

·       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyaxVhRmcDw

Return to Depth
  • Return fish to the depth of capture. If catching fish at very deep depths, returning them as deep as possible will dramatically improve survival.
Venting
  • If rapid descent is not possible, venting is another, but less preferable, option.
  • Use established guidelines for venting such as found at http://catchandrelease.org.
  • Note that the fish’s stomach may protrude from its mouth. Do NOT puncture the stomach.

 

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.

 

Pictures provided by Brendan Runde, Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University

A released red snapper showing signs of barotrauma is unable to swim back down to the bottom after being released. Credit: Brendan Runde, Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University

 

What is the impact of hook type on a fish?

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.

Circle Hook

J Hook

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
Non-offset circle 652 31 4.5%
Offset circle 1,245 96 7.2%
Non-offset J 141 16 10.2%
Offset J 743 170 18.6%
Other (Kahle, Treble) 19 3 13.6%

The Hook Location is used to estimate release mortality.

 

Where is the circle hook regulation boundary?

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.

Partners in MyFishCount

                                         

 

www.myfishcount.com