Nev Schulman is losing his longtime TV partner and 'Catfish' co-host, Max Joseph, to life behind the camera ... TMZ has learned.
Max tells us he's quitting the MTV show -- which he helped create and co-host for 7 years -- to pursue his budding career in filmmaking. He says, "For a while now I have been straddling two careers as TV host and filmmaker and, while this level of busy-ness is a dream come true, my life can no longer sustain it."
Max adds ... "With 'Catfish' still going strong after 7 seasons, 115 episodes, 31 specials and showing no sign of slowing down, I feel it is finally the time for me to make my exit."
Nev says he's gonna miss Max for "his ability to listen, empathize and advise" and adds ... "While selfishly I'd love to keep him all to myself, I know that unleashing the creativity and passion that he has will benefit so many of us."
Unclear if MTV is going to cast a replacement host for Max. 'Catfish' is in the middle of airing its seventh season right now. Max's final episode will air August 22 at 9 PM ET/PT.