Georgia DNR is working with NOAA Fisheries to collect data used to estimate harvest, discards, and fishing effort during the recreational mini-season for red snapper later this month. The data will contribute to current information on the age, size, and growth of red snapper in the population. There are several ways Georgia anglers can help.
First, anglers can place red snapper carcasses in chest freezers located along the Georgia coast (visit CoastalGaDNR.org/MarineCarcass for locations). A $50 Academy Sports gift card will be randomly awarded to two participants that donate the red snapper carcasses.
Second, anglers can provide information about their red snapper fishing trips by visiting MyFishCount.com and completing a short survey for each trip (MyFishCount is also available as a smartphone app). During the 2017 red snapper mini-season, over 350 South Atlantic anglers reported trips. Reports of poor weather conditions through MyFishCount helped to reopen the fishery for an additional weekend. More information on this angler reporting program and the 2018 red snapper mini-season is available at SAFMC.net.
Also, Coastal Resources Division (CRD) staff will be conducting interviews with anglers at select boat ramps to gather catch information. Anglers are encouraged to participate.
Finally, in partnership with Yamaha and FishSmart, CRD is highlighting Best Practices for handling and releasing offshore fish with FREE descending devices to participating anglers. The devices rapidly descend fish to the depth at which they were caught. Releasing at depth has the potential to significantly improve survival. Participating anglers will be asked to complete a short web-based survey. Anglers should contact Kathy Knowlton at 912-262-3122 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit TakeMeFishing.org/FishSmart for more information.
“Anglers have an opportunity to be citizen scientists by providing red snapper data. During the last mini-season, with the help of anglers CRD biologists examined 122 carcasses ranging in age from 1 to 19 years with approximately 95% younger than 14. Data collected during 2018 will be combined with that from other South Atlantic states for future population assessments,” explained Dr. Carolyn Belcher, CRD Chief of Marine Fisheries.
NOAA Fisheries has announced a limited recreational harvest of red snapper in the federal waters of the South Atlantic during the two weekends of August 10-12 and 17-19. Anglers are allowed one red snapper per day with no size restriction during the limited season.
For more information on the limited harvest of red snapper, CRD data collection project and a list of Carcass Recovery Freezer locations at marinas in coastal Georgia visit: CoastalGaDNR.org