Researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are looking for anglers’ help to capture information about the important Atlantic red snapper fishery. The recreational red snapper season opens for two weekends this month in south Atlantic federal waters.
FWC researchers, law enforcement personnel and volunteers will be out along Florida’s east coast during each day of the season asking recreational fishers about their red snapper trips and their catch. The recreational season runs Sept. 14-16 and 21-23 in south Atlantic federal waters. Researchers will also collect biological samples of harvested fish, which will not affect the fillet, to help determine the age of each red snapper.
Anglers who are not approached are encouraged to bring cleaned red snapper carcasses to select drop-off locations along the east coast. Those unable to drop off carcasses can still provide key information about their trips and catch through the FWC’s online red snapper survey.
The survey responses and biological samples submitted by anglers will provide researchers valuable data about the red snapper fishery. Fisheries scientists could use this information in future population assessments.
When anglers catch a tagged red snapper, FWC researchers ask that they report it to the Angler Tag Return Hotline: 800-367-4461. When calling the hotline, anglers should indicate the species, tag number, date and time of capture, catch location, fish length, type of bait used and whether the fish was kept or released. If the fish is released, the angler is asked to leave the tag in place to help with future data collection.
For more information about red snapper sampling efforts and for a list of carcass drop-off locations, visit MyFWC.com/Research, click on “Saltwater” and select “Recreational Fisheries.” For information on red snapper regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing, and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and select “Atlantic Snappers.”