South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

SAFMC Release

We’re currently looking for commercial, for-hire, and recreational fishermen to participate in SAFMC Release. Make your releases matter!

The number of released fish is increasing in South Atlantic waters. While kept fish can be sampled back at the dock, it is more difficult to collect information on fish that are released on the water. Fishermen, like you, hold the key to this crucial, first-hand knowledge.

The SAFMC Release project partners with commercial, for-hire, and recreational fishermen to collect information on shallow water grouper and Red Snapper using the mobile app, SciFish. It was developed in collaboration with fishermen, scientists, data and fishery managers, and technology experts.

Data collected through the project include length, depth of release, optional location, observations of shark predation, and use of barotrauma reduction techniques – like descending devices. These data can help us better understand what species are being released, the age of released fish, and how many survive. This information provides valuable insight into the snapper grouper fishery and may help inform assessments and management.

List of included species

The SAFMC Release project currently focuses on collecting information on released reef fish species. These species include Red Snapper and all shallow water grouper species.

The shallow water grouper complex contains 10 different species: Black, Gag, Yellowfin, Scamp, Yellowmouth, Red, Coney, Graysby, Red Hind, and Rock Hind.

Some of the shallow water grouper species can be tricky to identify. Check out the Shallow Water Grouper Species ID Guide for photos and tips on how to identify these species.

Get started

Fill out this ONLINE FORM or contact Julia Byrd (julia.byrd@safmc.net) to set up a SAFMC Release account in the SciFish app. Once an account is set up, your login information will be emailed to you. If you already have a SAFMC Release account – you can log into SciFish with your existing username and password.

Download the free SciFish app from the Apple App store or Google play store and log in with your username and password.

Watch the Demonstration Videos.

Go fishing and start collecting data!

Training Tools and Resources

Demonstration Videos

Starting an entry
Available data fields
Submitting a ‘No-release’

Data Confidentiality

  • Individual data collected through SAFMC Release are confidential.
  • Information about your individual data will only be shared with science and management agencies to help inform fisheries management.
  • When described or presented in public settings, trip and fishing location information will be combined with that of other users.

Data summaries

Check out the following report to learn more about the data logged through SAFMC Release!

A big thank you to all of the SAFMC Release participants for their valuable contributions to the project. With their help, we are moving towards understanding more about our reef fish fisheries. 

Photo credit: Shore Thang Charters

Project Partners

The SAFMC Release app was initially developed by Harbor Light Software with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts and Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program with the Citizen Science Association serving as a fiscal sponsor.

A planning and design team comprised of fishermen and representatives from the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, NC Sea Grant, Harbor Light software, Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program, Citizen Science Association, Cornell University, and SAFMC staff met to map out the initial mobile app design and layout. Additionally, the Citizen Science Action Teams developed supporting materials for the project.

Development of the SciFish app and the continued SAFMC Release Project expansion have been done in partnership with ACCSP, NCDMF, and Harbor Light Software.

The SAFMC Release Project would not be possible without the volunteer fishermen collecting data.

Upcoming meetings

Program Contacts