In 2017, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, in partnership with the Angler Action Foundation and Elemental Methods, launched a pilot project to assess the effectiveness of a private recreational reporting platform to collect information on fishing trips, catches, and releases. The MyFishCount mobile app, web portal, and informational website were developed, improved, and assessed during the project.
The idea for MyFishCount grew from the need to get more information on red snapper trips and catches during the short annual openings beginning in 2017. The project later expanded to allow reporting for other species, including freshwater species, to optimize the functionality of the app for avid anglers.
MyFishCount gives recreational fishermen the opportunity to use their voice in fisheries management while also maintaining their own personal logbook. The data provided can potentially help with stock assessments, analyses for bag and size limits, estimates of length and weight, protecting important fishing sites from ocean development, and more.
During 2019 and 2020, the project focused primarily on user recruitment and retention for the program (app) itself and for the participation of anglers using the program (app). Understanding these crucial components is a necessity for proceeding with electronic reporting projects, whether voluntary or mandatory.
Following the end of the grant cycle in 2020, the Council transitioned MyFishCount to the Angler Action Foundation, who assumed control and will continue to maintain the app and encourage its use among recreational fishermen. Anglers are urged to continue to use the mobile application or web portal to better inform fisheries management decisions in the future. Moving forward, information requests should be submitted to the Angler Action Foundation at www.angleraction.org. Through the Angler Action Foundation, MyFishCount will continue to collect information and make it available for use by fisheries managers.
A final report describing findings from the pilot project will be available in early 2021.