MyFishCount Recreational Reporting Project Counts More than Just South Atlantic Update Summer 2018 Newsletter

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council - Summer 2018 Newsletter

Use of new mobile app helps provide the big picture during red snapper opening - and into the future

Fishermen love to share stories about their fishing trips. Whether its on the VHF, fishing forums, Instagram, Facebook, or uncle Harry’s birthday party. We often receive calls here at the Council office from fishermen talking about the impacts of weather, regulations, gear requirements, number of released fish (and the sharks that feed on them), etc.

Now there is an opportunity to share that information in real time to help fishery managers better understand what is happening on the water while giving private recreational anglers a personal log-book to help improve their next fishing trip.

“We believe all anglers have a responsibility to live up to Florida’s “Fishing Capital of the World” designation, and there is no better way than through the MyFishCount app.”
— Gary Jennings, American Sportfishing Association

The MyFishCount electronic reporting pilot project allows anglers to report details of their trips - numbers of fish kept, released, condition of fish released, gear used, depths fished, area fished, weather, and much more. Information is reported through the MyFishCount website or mobile app. All data are confidential and used only in cummulative format. As anglers log into their accounts and report, they also create trip-level logbooks that can be referenced later to help improve their fishing trips.

Reports from Red Snapper Season

With over 700 users of the mobile app to date, MyFishCount participants received a summary report from the red snapper season three days after the recreational season ended. The report included catch highlights, weather impacts on fishing trips, catch and release information, length distributions for fish captured this year compared to the last stock assessment, and more. Anglers
are encouraged to participate in the pilot project and help paint the big picture to improve fisheries management.

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Reports from MyFishCount users were used to compile data following the red snapper mini-season. As reports continue throughout the year, such information will be helpful to managers.

Florida anglers can improve harvest data from their phones: Guestview

 Kellie Ralston

Kellie Ralston

Kellie Ralston, Guest Columnist, Pensacola News Journal

Florida anglers can improve harvest data from their phones

Anglers along Florida’s Gulf coast have been heading offshore over the past week to enjoy the start of Florida’s 40-day red snapper season, serving as a reminder of how important recreational fishing is to the state’s economy and heritage. While recreational fishermen as a group often have a wide range of opinions — such as what bait is best to use, what areas produce the best bites, or how big that fish really was — one area they’ve agreed upon is that the data federal fisheries managers have been using to regulate fishing is pretty lousy.

Fortunately, innovative new data collection approaches are being implemented this year that will allow anglers the opportunity to report their catch and help improve the data managers need to sustainably manage these fisheries. In other words, for anglers who have rightfully complained in the past about poor fisheries data, it’s put up or shut up time.

As the season begins, Florida’s more than three million licensed anglers have the opportunity to play a critical role in improving recreational harvest data by registering for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey, which is required for those targeting reef fish species, and by voluntarily recording their red snapper catches and trips on the iAngler Gulf Red Snapper smartphone app.

Data collected through the iAngler Gulf Red Snapper app, developed in partnership by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Snook and Gamefish Foundation (SGF), will help fish and wildlife officials make more informed decisions as they manage this Florida fishery. Anglers fishing in Gulf waters can use the free app to track trips, log their catches, and the condition of the fish when and if it was released. Florida anglers can also monitor the locations they made their catches, the time of day and the type of fish they caught, along with photos.

The app not only provides anglers with fishing regulations across the country, a 48-hour weather forecast, and a 4-day tide report right at their fingertips, it’s also a helpful tool for the state to manage fishing data, as well as providing a platform for anglers to revisit their past trips and discover patterns from good and not so good fishing days.

For anglers on Florida’s east coast, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) also partnered with the SGF to create MyFishCount.

MyFishCount started in 2017 as a free web-based tool for anglers to report their trips and catches. After gathering requests from anglers across the South Atlantic region, SAFMC unveiled the new free mobile smartphone app this month to improve science-based data used to manage South Atlantic fisheries.

Similar to the iAngler Gulf Red Snapper app, MyFishCount allows anglers fishing in the South Atlantic to log their catches along with other details about their fishing trip. Unlike the iAngler Gulf Red Snapper app however, MyFishCount can be used beyond the red snapper season to track catches of all species and trips throughout the entire year.

Improving the data used to make fisheries management decisions is an important goal of proposed federal legislation like the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, also known as the Modern Fish Act (S. 1520 /H.R. 2023). The Modern Fish Act will improve the sustainable management of our nation’s fisheries and update federal regulations to better address recreational activities, which are very different from commercial fisheries.

Florida anglers support more than 128,000 jobs, provide $9.6 billion in economic activity and contribute more than $53.3 million for fisheries conservation. In fact, Keep Florida Fishing’s mission is to ensure anglers have clean waters, abundant fisheries and access to both. We believe all anglers have a responsibility to live up to Florida’s ‘Fishing Capital of the World’ designation and there is no better opportunity than through apps like iAngler and MyFishCount to directly participate in improving data for state and federal changes.

For anglers in the Gulf, download the iAngler Gulf Red Snapper app here. For those fishing in the South Atlantic, download the MyFishCount app here.

Together we can Keep Florida Fishing for generations to come.

Kellie Ralston is the Florida Fisheries policy director with the American Sportfishing Association.

As the technology partner for the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, Elemental Methods developed and hosts the “MyFishCount”, “iAngler Gulf Red Snapper”, and “iAngler Gulf Red Snapper - CHARTER” mobile applications, web portal, and databases.

Elemental Methods Featured On "DFW Spotlight on Business with Heidi Hardy" Podcast

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In 2018 do you plan to grow your business? Will you be leveraging your "Network"? Your professional network aka Human Capital can help you build your business...reaching your goals and going beyond.

This episode with Michael Christopher, owner of Elemental Methods, LLC/Managing Partner tells us how he went from an IT Services company to a growing App Development company with a vertical market that is expanding. #businessgrowth #appdeveloper #strategicpartner #networking #irvingchamberofcommerce

Elemental Methods Announces Strategic Partnership with BP Logix, award winning BPM solution of choice

The digital transformation underway in virtually every sector is driven by a variety of critical changes in the global business environment. Sure, organizations have always been on the lookout for ways to be more efficient and responsive. But the expectations of today’s customers have risen so far, and so fast, that many a pedigreed and stalwart firm has been left in the dust by upstarts: more agile digital ventures, unburdened by the legacy technology and cultural baggage of their predecessors.

How can you beat these upstarts at their own game?

We have partnered with BP Logix to introduce our clients to Process Director, a critical tool for your company’s digital future. Process Director is a high-productivity, no-code application development platform that enables you to rapidly create and enhance applications in the same way that you already think about your business practices: in terms of activities, people, constraints, and dependencies. Process Director frees you from risky development efforts, massive software investments, and reams of spaghetti code—but its focus is on people and their day-to-day work, not on software. This new, yet familiar, approach enables you to create dynamic digital journeys for your customers, employees and partners without the constraints of traditional application development and procurement. 

Request a demo at mchristopher@elementalmethods.com

iAngler Tournament System Featured in "Hobie Outdoors Adventures" - Episode 3, "Making Champions - Hobie Bass Open at Kentucky Lake"

iAngler Tournament Systems, sister company of Elemental Methods, is featured in a new episode of "Hobie Outdoor Adventures".  The cloud-based company manages "Catch/Photo/Release" fishing tournaments globally.  The data collected in these tournaments is being provided to researchers and fisheries managers throughout the United States.

Episode 3, "Making Champions - Hobie Bass Open at Kentucky Lake" is about the 2016 Hobie Bass Open and the iAngler Tournament System is featured throughout the video. We're proud to be working again this summer with the Hobie team at the 2017 Hobie Bass Open.

Elemental Methods Featured In The U.S. Chamber of Commerce "Small Business Master Class"

Irving, TX - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with MetLife, welcomed over 200 small business leaders from across the state to the inaugural "Small Business Master Class: Dallas".   Business owners and entrepreneurs engaged with top experts to gain tools, strategies, and best practices to help companies compete successfully in today's rapidly changing economy, as well as hear inspiring stories of success and perseverance. Michael Christopher, Managing Director of Elemental Methods, was one of several local business leaders that shared their stories on how they achieved small business success.

“For Irving, small businesses are very important. They are spearheading and running our global economy,” said Beth Bowman, President and CEO of the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce.

The program provided tips, tools and resources on how to make small businesses successful.  Dallas Cowboys legend Drew Pearson was among the lineup of speakers.

Watch a video of the "Small Business Master Class: Dallas" at: http://ictn.tv/news/06192017-522

Elemental Methods Serves on Blue Ribbon Panel on the Modernization of Fisheries Information Systems

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United States fisheries are now among the most sustainable in the world. Yet as commercial fishermen, recreational anglers and seafood businesses work to reap the benefits, outdated information systems and practices are presenting an enduring barrier.

Amidst growing interest in addressing this problem by modernizing our nation's fishery information infrastructure, a coalition of experts came together to make recommendations for change. Michael Christopher of Elemental Methods was a member of the coalition charged with drafting these recommendations to Congress and the Trump Administration. Today our "Fishing Data Innovation Taskforce" is pleased to release "Improving Net Gains", a call to advance data-driven innovation for America's fishing future.

This report reviews progress to date, assesses the experiences of fisheries stakeholders, considers best practices from elsewhere, and makes recommendations for how the National Marine Fisheries Service can work with partners to move us forward. 

You can view and download the report at:  https://fishingnetgains.com

After nearly 40 years, Florida's Joe Bay reopens to anglers

A long untouched section of The Everglades once again welcomes fishermen in search of snook, tarpon and more

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by Mike Hodge - Hatch Magazine, Monday, Apr 10th, 2017

More than 6 million people live in South Florida. And given that the lower tip of the Sunshine State appears to be growing every year, this means more fishermen will share less water.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life for many Florida anglers. But there’s a nugget of hope for those who like to fish the Everglades.

Joe Bay, a chunk of water on the northeastern shore of Florida Bay, has recently re-opened to fishing after nearly 40 years of closure. Since 1980 until late 2016, Joe Bay and nearby Snag Bay were off limits to fishing due to declining American Crocodile populations in the area. However, the American Croc, once an endangered species, has since rebounded and the no-motor area was created to accommodate fishing in November of last year.

Derke Snodgrass, an Islamorada resident, was one of the first ones to fly fish Joe Bay and loaded up on jacks, ladyfish, with occasional opportunities for snook and tarpon.

“I think the fishing is pretty good, it’s just your non-target species, primarily,” Snodgrass said. “It’s good action. It’s just not what people would go in there for. I’ve taken my 14-year-old son, Colton, in there, so that type of action is fantastic. And it’s just the whole experience. It’s the experience of paddling into pristine to semi pristine, virgin territory.”

Joe Bay, though appealing, comes with a few restrictions. It’s catch-and-release and paddle power only.

And access is limited. You have to use a kayak, canoe or paddle board via channels from Trout Creek. The paddle takes about a half hour.

“The paddle power eliminates the googan who’s not going to put in the effort,” Snodgrass said. “It’s a Banana River kind of thing, possibly. Sometimes, though, it’s not a googan thing. It’s an effort thing. Or some people, because of age or just ability, just can’t paddle that far.” 

WHAT TO USE AND THE LAY OF THE LAND

Finger mullet abound, so EP baitfish patterns are probably a good bet. Although Florida Bay and world-famous Flamingo are known for tailing reds, Joe Bay is a bit too deep to yield that scenario.

“Snook seem to be the main target,” Snodgrass said. “Redfish are pretty much non-existent back there. The bay itself is pretty deep. The water level right now is pretty darned low. The bulk of the area is over a meter deep. Some of the bights are shallower, but not tailing-depth shallow.”

Although water-quality issues and habitat losses have plagued much of the Everglades, Snodgrass said the water in Joe Bay is clean with plenty of cover—mangroves and grass—for the fish.

“There is nice seagrass, not meadows, but pockets of it,” Snodgrass said. “The water was pretty clear. Definitely sight fishable.”

THE JOE BAY PROJECT AND ANGLERS IN ACTION

Snodgrass never saw another boat during his handful of trips. But if you do see someone, it may be Dr. Jennifer Rehage of Florida International University, the point person for the Joe Bay Fisheries Project, a study to evaluate the impact of the no-fishing edict.

Since the study, funded by the Everglades National Park, is expected to take three years, it’s probably too early to draw firm conclusions about the catch-and-release area. For instance, Rehage and her team want to compare the fish populations of Joe Bay and nearby Snag Bay, which have been reopened after lengthy closures and Little Madeira Bay, which has remained closed. A definitive answer has yet to be formulated about any of the areas involved in the study, which started in December of 2016.

One of the primary components in the study is the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s Angler Action Program, which allows anglers to electronically log the size and species of their catch and other important information about their fishing trips in a data base used for research purposes.

Angler Action data has been used in recent state-wide stock assessments for redfish, trout and snook. Now it will be used to evaluate a particular piece of water.

“What I love about the Joe Bay project is that it really points out how fantastic the marriage between anglers and researchers is,” SGF Executive Director Brett Fitzgerald said. “Whether you call it ‘citizen science’ or whatever the new buzzword is, Joe Bay is nothing but a total win for everyone.”

Anglers can log their Joe Bay information the traditional way, with pen-and-paper surveys at the Trout Creek mooring area. Those more technologically advanced can use their laptops or cell phones. There’s even a Joe Bay App.

Anglers can register for Angler Action, its App, and the Joe Bay Project via joebayfishing.org/angleraction/login/auth or the Snook & Gamefish Foundation website.

Mike Hodge is a freelance writer from St. Augustine, Fla. and a previous contributor to Hatch.

As the technology partner for the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, Elemental Methods developed and hosts the “JoeBayFishing” web portal, mobile application(s), and database.

Elemental Methods Announces Technology Support for the CCA Florida STAR Tournament

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Irving, Texas, March 15, 2016 – Elemental Methods, LLC announced today its official sponsorship of the Coastal Conservation Association’s (CCA) Florida State-wide Tournament and Angler’s Rodeo (STAR), Florida’s largest fishing tournament. Elemental Methods is a technology sponsor of the CCA Florida STAR Tournament. Elemental Methods will be providing the Cloud, Web, and Mobile technologies used in delivering the 2016 tournament.

Florida STAR is a Catch & Photo tournament designed to educate the general public about the importance of conservation of Florida’s marine resources. The format encourages sportsmen and sportswomen of all ages to protect and conserve Florida’s fishery resources for future viability and availability for all recreational anglers. It is one of the most angler inclusive tournaments in the state of Florida and provides all anglers an opportunity to participate. By participating in STAR, Florida anglers aid in the collection of significant scientific.

“We’re thrilled to be working again with CCA Florida in the delivery of the 2016 STAR,“ said Michael Christopher, Managing Director at Elemental Methods. “While participating in one of Florida’s premier fishing tournaments, anglers provide timely and accurate catch data for research and fisheries management. This information is critical in decisions by fisheries managers to keep fish populations stable.”

The CCA Florida STAR tournament kicks off Saturday, May 28, 2016, Memorial Day weekend, and ends at 5 p.m., September 5, 2016, Labor Day offering participants a total of 101 days of fishing. With nearly $500,000 in prizes and scholarships available, over 7,500 anglers are expected to participate in this year’s tournament.

Specially tagged redfish are the main attraction in the CCA Florida STAR tournament. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and CCA Florida officials will release STAR tagged redfish along the east and west coasts of Florida several days prior to the start of the tournament. For participants, catching one of these redfish could result in winning a boat/motor/trailer package or a new truck.