FWC asks anglers to help gather reef fish data
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) request angler assistance with a research project focusing on red snapper and other reef fish on Florida’s Gulf Coast. This project will provide fisheries researchers and managers with much of the catch-and-release survival information they need for assessing reef fish stocks.
Reef fish include a variety of snapper and grouper species commonly targeted by recreational anglers. Anglers can contribute to reef fish research by participating in angler surveys. They also can help by reporting tagged fish to the Angler Tag Return Hotline at 800-367-4461.
As part of the research, FWRI biologists will approach anglers at public areas such as boat ramps, fishing piers and marinas to request participation. These biologists will distribute survey cards designed to collect detailed information on fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico. This information includes where red snapper are caught and released, the type of equipment used and the condition of the fish when released.
Anglers can also e-mail their name and address to FishStats@MyFWC.com to obtain a postage-paid survey card in the mail. Downloadable data sheets are also available on the FWRI Web site at http://research.MyFWC.com/features/view_article.asp?id=32671.
Additionally, each month FWRI will mail surveys to a random sample of licensed saltwater anglers. These surveys focus on the habits of anglers who target reef fish. Survey questions include when and how often anglers fish, as well as the type and number of fish they harvest or release. Biologists request that anglers respond to the survey, even if they are not fishing for reef fish.
FWRI biologists are tagging and releasing reef fish back into the wild to evaluate the survival of released fish. For this project, biologists are placing an orange tag near the dorsal fin of the fish. Each tag has a unique number printed on the side. When anglers catch a fish with one of these tags, they should call the Angler Tag Return Hotline. Biologists would like to know the species of fish, tag number, date and time of capture, where the fish was caught, fish length, type of bait used and whether the fish was kept or released. If the fish is released, anglers should leave the tag in the fish so biologists can continue to collect data. Receiving this information is important for the success of this project.
Anglers will receive a token of appreciation for participating in this study.
For more information on reef fish research, visit http://research.MyFWC.com.