ICAST 2019 Offers Opportunity to Highlight Citizen Science Program

(NEWSLETTER - Summer 2019)

 

ICAST 2019 Offers Opportunity to Highlight Citizen Science Program

SAFMC Scamp Release Pilot Project featured at International Trade Show Booth

 

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Citizen Science Program was the focus of Booth #1759, a small but valuable piece of the showroom floor as part of ICAST 2019, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades or ICAST, is held each summer at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The annual trade show is produced by the American Sportfishing Association. This year’s show was open to a record 14,500 registered buyers, media, and exhibitors, and showcased the latest innovations in fishing technology and products.

The Council’s booth was part of the show’s “Conservation Isle”, an area of the showroom floor dedicated specifically to increase awareness of natural resource management and promote stewardship. Both state and federal agencies were represented, including the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, B.A.S.S., and others. This was the fourth year the Council has participated in the trade show.

 

There was a steady stream of traffic as registrants stopped to watch a video highlighting the Council’s two new Citizen Science Programs, the SAFMC Scamp Release mobile application for voluntary reporting and FISHstory, a project that will use historic photos to document catch and length estimates from the 1940s-70s. The exhibit booth offered Council staff the opportunity to talk with attendees, explaining the role of the regional fishery management councils and the importance of better fisheries data for management. Staff were also able to network with exhibitors throughout the convention, sharing information and increasing awareness of the Council and its programs.

Two life-like silicone fish were attention grabbers at the exhibit as well. On loan from the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast Fisheries Training Center in Charleston, SC, the “rubber fish” are used by the USCG for training purposes. The red snapper and gag grouper sparked conversations as attendees held the fish, took their best shot at estimating weights, and snapped a few photos.

Show attendees from the southeast, including the owners of bait and tackle businesses, marinas, and fishing groups learned more about the SAFMC Scamp Release pilot project and were provided promotional materials to distribute once they returned home. Several committed bottom fishermen signed up for the voluntary reporting project while at the exhibit! The Council continues to solicit volunteers, including recreational, commercial, and charter/for-hire fishermen,to participate in the Scamp Release pilot project to provide additional information on scamp grouper. Learn more at: https://safmc.net/citizen-science-program/.

 

Interested in participating in the SAFMC Scamp Release pilot project? Want to learn more about the Council’s Citizen Science Program? Contact Julia Byrd at julia.byrd@safmc.netor call the Council office at 843/571-4366.

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