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Florida east coast anglers can help FWC collect red snapper data

Leah Poppell2b

Photos available on FWC’s Flickr site: Go to: http://flic.kr/p/c8M723 and http://flic.kr/p/bxWnVm.

Florida east coast anglers can help FWC collect red snapper data

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers are asking anglers to help them gather information about the important Atlantic red snapper fishery. The recreational red snapper season is open Aug. 23 through Aug. 25 (a Friday through Sunday) in south Atlantic federal waters.

FWC researchers 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. Researchers will also collect biological samples of harvested fish, which will not affect the fillet, to help determine the age of each red snapper.

Biologists sampled more than 2,000 red snapper during the federal opening in 2012 as a result of these efforts.

Anglers’ survey responses and biological samples will give researchers valuable data about the red snapper fishery. Fisheries scientists could use this information in future population assessments.

While the federal opening will have no size limit and a bag limit of one fish per person per day, in Florida state waters there is a 20-inch total length minimum size limit, in addition to a bag limit of two fish per person, per day. Vessels with red snapper smaller than the state’s minimum size limit must travel through state waters without stopping and have fishing gear stowed.

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, visit MyFWC.com/Research. For information on red snapper regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing, and click on “Recreational Regulations” under “Saltwater” and then select “Atlantic Snappers.”