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Anglers asked to help agencies gather red snapper data

Researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are seeking help from recreational anglers to capture information about the Atlantic red snapper fishery.

The recreational season runs from today through Sunday and from Nov. 10-12 in south Atlantic federal waters. Anglers are limited to one fish per person per day, with no minimum size limit.

FWC researchers, law enforcement personnel and volunteers will be out along Florida’s east coast during each day of the season, asking anglers about their red snapper trips and their catch.

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

Anglers are also encouraged to submit their catch information to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council online at MyFishCount.com, even if they have already given information to FWC staff in person.

The survey responses and biological samples that anglers submit will provide researchers with valuable data about the red snapper fishery, the FWC said.

The FWC will provide information collected to the Southeast Data, Assessment and Review for the next red snapper stock assessment.

When anglers catch a tagged red snapper, FWC researchers ask that they report it to the Angler Tag Return Hotline: (800) 367-4461. When they call the hot line, 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.

Anglers are encouraged to use best-handling practices on fish they release, including descending devices or venting tools on fish that are experiencing barotrauma.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted 12-1 on Sept. 25 during its quarterly meeting in Charleston, S.C., to request a red snapper fishing miniseason from NOAA Fisheries, TC Palm reported.

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