Marine Fisheries Research
The waters along Florida’s coastline attract millions of recreational anglers and thousands of commercial fishers. Marine Fisheries Research biologists study the fish and invertebrates found in the state’s saltwater environments, gathering data important for the management of these species. The section’s research includes collecting and analyzing fishing data, monitoring species status and abundance, investigating biological information, and breeding and rearing certain species to enhance or rebuild their populations.
Marine Fisheries staff at FWRI conduct a variety of studies on many different commercially and recreationally important finfish. The studies include life histories, age and growth analyses, and research on reproduction.
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute scientists based in St. Petersburg and Marathon conduct research on scallops, oysters, clams, conch and other molluscan species at various locations across the state. They collect data on life history, biology, age structure, stock abundance and fishery characteristics, which are analyzed to monitor trends in mollusc populations throughout Florida. In some instances, molluscs are cultured and released to help evaluate the use of hatchery-reared animals as a management tool for rebuilding or enhancing coastal fisheries.
Crustaceans and Marine Arthropods
The Crustacean Fisheries group is responsible for providing information on blue crab, stone crab, shrimp, and horseshoe crab fisheries in Florida.
The Marine Fisheries Stock Enhancement program uses applied research to develop the technology for spawning and rearing fish to enhance or help restore coastal fisheries. The program has spawned and reared red drum, common snook, spotted seatrout, bay scallops, and queen conch.
Commercial and Recreational Fisheries
The Fisheries-Dependent Monitoring division collects data on more than 200 species of fish and invertebrates harvested from Florida waters. Fishery-dependent data, collected directly from people who harvest aquatic species, is used to monitor harvest rates and assess the health of exploited fish and invertebrate populations.
The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has three extensive collections which include more than 741,000 cataloged, preserved invertebrates as well as adult and larval fish.
Status and Trends Report
FWRI collects catch-and-effort data and provides information to those assessing the effects that current and proposed management regulations have or might have on fish stocks, fishing practices, and fishers. Species accounts provide a summary of the biology of and fishery information for a particular species. The accounts provide life history information, statewide landings, trends in catch rates, and results of recent stock assessments.
The Stock Assessment program collects and analyzes data concerning the recreational and commercial fisheries harvests. These data provide the only source of information for management regulations.
Aquatic Health Program
Fish Health staff monitor and study marine organism diseases, die-offs and fish kills, and the causes, such as infectious agents, parasites, contaminants, red tides, biological toxins and poor water quality, that may be associated with these events.