Numbers of released fish in many South Atlantic marine fisheries are increasing and improving information on these released fish is a priority research need. In this pilot project, citizen scientists are being recruited from the fishing community to provide information on released shallow water grouper (Black, Gag, Yellowfin, Scamp, Yellowmouth, Red, Rock Hind, Red Hind, Coney, and Graysby) . Many fisheries use scientists to observe fish on the water, but that is expensive and impractical for small boat fisheries such as snapper grouper in the South Atlantic. This project addresses that challenge by enlisting the help of commercial and recreational offshore bottom fishermen to collect data on released shallow water grouper via a free mobile app, SciFish.
The app is a tool for fishermen to provide critical data on the fish they release, such as length, depth of release, observed shark predation, and the use of barotrauma reduction tools like descending devices.
As more fishermen participate and more data are gathered, the information collected through SAFMC Release will help supplement existing data sources and can help inform stock assessments and management.