Brief Project Information

Filling Fisheries Data Gaps with Historical Dock Photos


United States                
Published in 2019
More information about the project

According to the webpage at "Stepping Back In Time Travel back to the docks of Daytona Beach, Florida from the 1940's through 70's through the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (SAFMC) pilot project FISHstory. This project will train citizen science volunteers to identify and count fish in historic fishing photos. Data collected with your help will provide a novel picture of the fishery prior to dedicated monitoring programs and help improve our understanding of the fishery for several iconic species. Species composition and length data can be critical to accurately estimate stock productivity and there is very little information from 1940 to 1970 when for-hire fisheries off the Atlantic coast of Florida were gaining popularity. As a result, it’s critical that we fill these data gaps to help evaluate assumptions about stock productivity. Historic photos, untapped sources of this important biological data, can help do just that. Analyzing the photos will help provide better information of what people were catching during this time period, seasonality of their catches, and possibly estimate a rough catch per angler which can provide insights on the health of fish populations. How FISHstory Got Started Rusty Hudson, a fisherman out of Daytona Beach, Florida has been involved in South Atlantic U.S. fisheries for many years. He approached fisheries scientists in the region about the large photo archive he had from his family’s fishing fleet in the 1940s-1970s. Rusty saw the value in what these photos could provide - helping document historic catches before dedicated catch monitoring programs began. Working collaboratively with Rusty and scientists in the region, Council staff hatched the idea for the FISHstory project. So what are you looking at? Each photo represents a single fishing trip. Groups of passengers would pay to be taken out on one of the vessels within the fleet. These vessels were designed to provide passengers with a comfortable space to fish while the captain and crew made sure they enjoyed their time on the water. The captain and crew would select different fishing locations depending on the weather, time of year, and other factors. When the vessel returned to the dock they would unload the day's catch. These photos were taken to commemorate the customer's day on the water. The photos were retained at the docks for promotional use and the customers could buy a copy for their photo albums. Today the Critter fleet is the last remaining charter service that can be seen within the FISHstory photos, however modern charter services still take advantage of these lucrative fishing grounds. Validation Process Because fish identification can be challenging, we have a team of fish ID experts, comprised of both scientists and fishermen, who will help review photos when there isn't agreement of the types of fish found in a photo. To learn more about this process or to request to be part of the Validation Team, drop us a line in the "Talk" section. About The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina and is responsible for managing fisheries in federal waters from the North Carolina/Virginia border to the Florida Keys. Federal waters refers to waters 3 to 200 miles offshore. The council is made up of 13 voting members including representatives from the commercial and recreational fishing sectors along with representatives from each state in the region. We manage 70 different species and have 7 different fisheries management plans. To learn more about SAFMC or to get involved, please visit our website: map.JPG SAFMC Citizen Science Program The Council's Citizen Science Program was developed over the course of three years with the guidance of a wide array of stakeholders and partners. The aim was to build a program that would engage fishermen, scientists, and managers in co-creating citizen science projects that would align with the Council's research needs. The projects would collect new data to supplement existing data collection programs and be used to develop fisheries management strategies and considered for use in stock assessments. To learn more about SAFMC's citizen science program visit our website: SAFMC Citizen Science FISHstory Project Location FISHstory includes photos of fishing trips departing from Inlet Harbor and Timmons Fish Camp in Daytona Beach, Florida. These locations were family run operations with multiple vessels. Today fishing charter trips still leave out of Inlet Harbor, while Timmons Fish Camp has since become a seafood restaurant. Fishing locations varied depending on the vessel, season, weather, or even day. Because of this the depth of water fished and, subsequently, the species caught vary. The maps below show some of the typical fishing locations. Halifax Fishing Chart provided by Rusty Hudson Meet The Captains and Vessels FISHstory involves not just fish, but people as well! Our photos show fishing and family history. The men and women shown in the FISHstory photos were born and raised on the water and their passion for fishing shows. Rusty Hudson Russell Howard Hudson, aka Rusty, was born in 1955 in Greenville, SC. His fishing career started at an early age. By age 4, Rusty was fishing with his family at Timmons Fish Camp in Ponce Park, FL. Because he was a child in a US Air Force family, he spent over three years in Japan. By 1964 Rusty had returned to FL and was working aboard both the Mako and the Broadbill with Captain Jake Stone, his grandfather, and Captain Bob Stone, his uncle. Rusty also worked aboard The Flamingo, another one of Jake Stone’s vessels, and worked within the commercial fishing and shrimping sector with other captains in the Inlet Harbor fleet. Rusty has provided FISHstory with not only the historic photos documenting his family’s trips on the water, but a wealth of knowledge on identifying fish, information on the state of fisheries at the time, regional fish names, and FISHstory design input. Without him FISHstory would not be possible. Thank you!"

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