Red Snapper season begins June 1. Anglers have a chance to earn some money from their catch and provided valuable information to scientists.
Researchers with the Great Red Snapper Count, a project led by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies’ Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi want to collect important data about Red Snapper. This fishery has been on a slow rebound from a depleted stock.
Researchers have been out on the water in April and May tagging and releasing 4,000 legal-sized Red Snapper in preparation for the recreational fishing season opener. Reported tags from recaptured fish will be worth $250 per fish. Fish that are double-tagged to estimate tag shedding rates are worth up to $500.
A yellow tag labeled with text beginning with RS followed by a unique five-digit ID number will be placed beneath the dorsal fin of each fish. If you capture a tagged Red Snapper, whether you plan to keep or release it, clip and save the tag and record the date, the length, and weight of the fish, and the coordinates where the fish was caught. Then call the hotline printed on the tag to report your recapture and claim the reward.
Because the physical tag must be mailed in to claim the reward, fishermen should always clip off and save the tag, even if they plan to release the fish. Rewards will be issued through Dec. 31, 2019. Scientists expect about 10 percent of the tagged fish to be caught.
This high-reward tagging study gathers important data for the study while giving anglers an opportunity to get involved in the science that helps to manage their fishery – and possibly get paid in the process. Each reported and returned tag will be combined with estimates of catch and effort from participating fishermen to help the Great Red Snapper Count team develop their estimate of the overall Red Snapper population in the Gulf.
The Great Red Snapper Count is a large-scale, two-year research project designed to independently estimate the abundance – or population size – of Red Snapper in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Results from this study will be used to supplement the stock assessment-derived abundance estimate for Red Snapper, with the goal of ensuring the most robust management possible for the species.