Red Snapper Study To Include $250 Tags On Fish
The 2019 deep sea fishing season is almost upon us. For deep sea sport fishers who are ready to get out on the water, there are a few new developments to keep in mind. A new study by a team of 21 scientists from five Gulf States and Virginia is placing some mighty pricey tags on red snapper.
The tags, which will be placed on roughly 2,500 to 3,000 red snapper specimens, are part of a study that aims to find out just how many of these popular sport fish live in the Gulf of Mexico.
Anglers don’t have to worry about getting in trouble if they should happen to catch a fish that has been specially tagged as part of this new study. Any red snapper that has been caught can be caught and kept, or released, just as long as their special tags are clipped off.
Each tag is worth $250. In order to get the reward, the angler will have to report the fishing post from where they departed as well as the date that the fish was caught. They also need to report the tag number on the fish and the latitude and longitude where they caught it. Fishers should ideally mail the tag in, although researchers will accept a photo in some cases.
If you’re on a charter fishing trip, one of the deck-hands or the captain of the boat should be able to help you with the tag. Just make sure to let someone know you caught a tagged fish and your crew will advise you.
The New Study Aims to Curb Over-Fishing
Part of the reason why the new red snapper tag study is in effect for the 2019 season is because of rampant over-fishing. According to a study by NOAA Fisheries, the season was too long. This supposedly inordinate length was leading directly to recreational fishers catching far too many red snapper. The problem was largely one of long term sustainability for the species.
In 2017, the Trump administration extended the three-day federal season for an additional 39 weekend days. In 2018, Trump mandated an experiment set to last through 2020 in which states were given the power to open and close their recreational fishing seasons.
Not everyone has been happy with the supposed reforms that were adopted by the present administration. These measures have led to several lawsuits from wildlife agencies, who fear that such measures will lead inevitably to over-fishing. Their concerns have led to the present study.