Policy Watch

The private recreational Gulf red snapper season began in Florida on Monday, June 11 and continues through Friday, July 20, providing a 40-consecutive day season for anglers.  This year’s season is an innovative approach by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and federal fisheries regulators that allows the state to manage the private recreational red snapper harvest in both state and federal waters off our Gulf coast.

As the season begins, Florida’s more than three million licensed anglers have the opportunity to play a critical role in improving the accuracy and timeliness of 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.

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 is 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 trends and 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 SGF to create MyFishCount.  MyFishCount started in 2017 as a free web-based tool for anglers to report their trips and catches.  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, the MyFishCount app 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.

ASA and KFF are working with FWC and SAFMC to promote the use of these apps through social media, op-eds, and direct email advocacy efforts.  In addition, we are working with the agencies to ensure that the information that anglers provide can be included as a reliable component of stock assessment, allowing anglers to directly participate in improving data for state and federal changes.

For anglers in the Gulf, the iAngler Gulf Red Snapper app can be downloaded here to log your catches and trips for the Gulf red snapper season. For those fishing in the South Atlantic, the MyFishCount app can be downloaded here to record harvest for all catches throughout the year.

For more information, please contact Florida Fisheries Policy Director, Kellie Ralston.