Citizen Science Program

SAFMC Citizen Science Program

Vision

Advancing science and increasing trust, one project at a time.

Mission

To build and maintain a program that improves information for fisheries management through collaborative science

Program Contact:
Julia Byrd
Citizen Science Program Manager
Julia.byrd@safmc.net

 


What is Citizen Science?
Citizen science is a growing field in which trained members of the public collaborate and engage with scientists in the inquiry and discovery of new knowledge. Public participation in scientific research advances science, research, and policy and fosters an informed and engaged citizenship.


Why has the Council developed a Citizen Science Program?
For many years the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has grappled with the challenge of ensuring adequate and timely science to support management despite limited resources, a multitude of species to manage, and a complex and highly diverse ecosystem. Discussions of data shortcomings and the resulting scientific uncertainties often lead to offers from fishermen to provide their vessels as research platforms, collect samples and record their own observations to help increase scientific knowledge and "fill the gaps." The Council recognized the desire of constituents to get involved and the need to have a well-designed program and accompanying sampling protocols to ensure that information collected through such efforts is useful. To meet this growing need, the Council developed a comprehensive Fishery Citizen Science Program.

The Council's Citizen Science Program was developed over the course of three years with the guidance of a wide array of stakeholders and partners. The aim was to build a program that would engage fishermen, scientists, and managers in co-creating citizen science projects that would align with the Council's research needs. The projects would collect new data to supplement existing data collection programs and be used to develop fisheries management strategies and considered for use in stock assessments.

Program Goals: 

GOAL 1: Design, implement, and sustain a program framework to guide the development of projects that support fishery management decision making.

GOAL 2: Facilitate development of individual projects to address specific  research priorities.

GOAL 3: Ensure that data collected by projects are accessible, robust, and fit for purpose.

GOAL 4: Foster mutual learning, collaboration, and program engagement.

 

How the Program Operates

To meet these goals, the Program has developed Standard Operating Policies and Procedures (SOPPs) that outlines the infrastructure and guiding principles needed to carry out the Program.

Download the Citizen Science SOPPs

Action Team Program Component & Project Support Resources

Program Development HistoryREAD MORE 

SAFMC Release

Project Overview

Collecting more information on released fish is a priority research need for the Council. To help fill this data gap, the SAFMC Citizen Science Program developed the SAFMC Release Project. As a pilot, this project developed a mobile app and partnered commercial, for-hire, and recreational fishermen to collect information on released scamp grouper. A recent expansion will now allow fishermen to report releases of all shallow water grouper species.

The SAFMC Release Project is available through SciFish, a citizen science mobile application created by the ACCSP, SAFMC, NCDMF, and HarborLight Software. Fishermen can use this app to log information on released shallow water grouper – including the length of the released fish, depth of release, observed shark predation, and release treatment (e.g., use of a descending device). Data collected will help better characterize the size of released fish and help inform discard mortality estimates.

We’re currently looking for commercial, for-hire, and recreational fishermen to participate in this project!

To join the project, contact Julia Byrd (julia.byrd@safmc.net or 843-302-8439) or fill out this ONLINE FORM to set up an account and download the free mobile app!

DOWNLOAD the SciFish App

 

Download the App from the Apple Store

 

Download the App from the Google Play Store

 

Visit the project webpage to learn more!

 

FISHstory

Project Overview

This project will document historical catch and length estimates using historic photos from 1940s – 70s from a headboat fleet in Daytona Beach, FL. The project will use an online crowdsourcing platform to build a project that will allow citizens to be trained to identify species in the images. Once species are verified, one key species will be selected for length analysis to document lengths. Photos for the FISHstory pilot project are from Captain Frank Timmons, along with Captain Jake Stone and Captain Bob Stone courtesy of Rusty Hudson.

 

Visit the project webpage to learn more!

 

Dolphin Wahoo Participatory Workshops

Project Overview

The SAFMC is responsible for the management of Dolphin and Wahoo along the entire U.S. Atlantic coast from Key West, Florida through the state of Maine. Although these species support very important fisheries there are limited data to inform management decisions. This led NOAA Fisheries' Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) to collaborate with the SAFMC on a series of participatory workshops to gather information on this fishery. The workshops focused on developing conceptual models of the Dolphin Wahoo fishery in North Carolina/Virginia and South Florida.

 

Visit the project webpage to learn more!

Citizen Science Operations Committee

May 19, 2021 from 1-3pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Submit Public Comment to the Citizen Science Operations Committee Webinar - Click Here

Read Public Comments Already Submitted - Click Here

Citizen Science Projects Advisory Committee

November 20, 2020 from 3-5pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Operations Committee

October 2, 2020 from 1-2pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Operations Committee

August 31, 2020 from 2-4pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Operations Committee

June 25, 2020 from 1-3pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Operations Committee

May 5, 2020 from 2-4pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Operations Committee

March 30, 2020 from 1-3pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Operations Committee

January 24, 2020 from 1-3pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Operations Committee

October 25, 2019 from 1-4pm EDT

Briefing Book

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Citizen Science Projects Advisory Committee

October 3, 2019 from 3-5pm EDT

Briefing Book

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The Citizen Science Program's Annual Reports highlight Program activities over the past year. Check out the reports to keep up with what is happening with the Program!

2019 Annual Report

Want to get involved?

Contact Julia Byrd
Citizen Science Program Manager
julia.byrd@safmc.net