Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reef fish info

For immediate release from FWC: August 4, 2009

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

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

Anglers will receive a token of appreciation for participating in this
study. For more information on reef fish research, visit

To view this press release online visit

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