Scientists gathered information about the Atlantic red snapper fishery with assistance from anglers during 2012 season opening in South Atlantic federal waters.
|An FWC scientist in Port Canaveral
collects biological samples from a
red snapper obtained from a
charter vessel’s catch.
In January 2010, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries closed the red snapper fishery to protect the population from too much fishing pressure and to allow the population to increase in abundance. The two organizations approved opening the recreational and commercial fisheries in 2012 after new scientific information projected the population will continue to improve, even with some allowable catch. The fishery reopened for a short period of time to prevent too many fish from being harvested (NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fishery Bulletin with dates of opening).
Opening this fishery provided fishermen the opportunity to harvest the 2012 red snapper catch limit and enhanced the social and economic benefits to the fishery by supporting recreational and commercial fishing jobs and businesses.
The retention of red snapper created an opportunity to collect important life history information that fishery scientists could use in a future population assessment. Anglers were encouraged to provide fish carcasses and participate in fish surveys during the opening. In addition, many anglers provided data through an online survey or reported catching tagged red snapper. For-hire charter and headboat vessel operators also allowed FWC biologists to sample harvested red snapper and provided information on their chartered trips during interviews with biologists. More than 2,000 red snapper were sampled by biologists as a result of these efforts. The South Atlantic Council is working on a long-term plan to allow for some annual catches of red snapper as the population continues to grow.
FWC researchers appreciate all the anglers and captains taking time to participate in surveys and for allowing biologists to sample their catch. The red snapper sampling effort on the east coast of Florida was a great example of scientists and fishermen working together to collect high quality data to manage Florida’s fisheries.
Atlantic red snapper regulations
NOAA Fisheries – South Atlantic Red Snapper Emergency Rule FAQs
NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fishery Bulletin – Announcement of the Emergency Rule
Fishing resource information, including fish identification guidance and catch-and-release tips