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Recreational Anglers and Professional Fishers Assist with Red Snapper Research on the Atlantic Coast

With angler assistance, biologists will gather information about the Atlantic red snapper fishery during the 2018 season on the Atlantic coast of Florida.

Florida map of inlets
East Coast inlets sampled by FWC biologists.

A recreational harvest season for red snapper in the South Atlantic was approved for 2018. This season openings was an opportunity for FWC to collect important data from harvested fish that is needed for future population assessments. FWC biologists surveyed anglers and took biological samples during the 2018 recreational red snapper fishing season. Participation in these surveys is voluntary, though anglers are encouraged to take part in the surveys if approached by an FWC biologist.

During the 2018 Atlantic red snapper season, FWC collected data from recreational anglers returning from fishing trips near 9 inlets on the east coast of Florida:

  • Cumberland Sound (Fernandina Beach)
  • St. Johns River (Mayport/Jacksonville)
  • Vilano Inlet (St. Augustine)
  • Matanzas Inlet
  • Ponce Inlet (Daytona/New Smyrna)
  • Port Canaveral
  • Sebastian Inlet
  • Fort Pierce Inlet
  • St. Lucie Inlet

Data Collection Methods:

Private Boat Anglers
Biologists monitored vessel activity through each inlet and conducted surveys with anglers as they returned from fishing. Biologists also asked for permission to weigh and measure harvested fish, and asked to collect a sample from red snapper that will be used to determine their ages. These surveys are used to determine how many boats participated in the red snapper season, the numbers of red snapper harvested, and important biological information that will be used in future population assessments.

Charter Boats
Charter boat operators with a federal permit to harvest snapper in the South Atlantic are asked to keep a log of their trips and report their red snapper catch to FWC. Biologists contact vessel operators by phone to collect the information, unless captains choose to mail the log. Biologists also meet some charter vessels as they return from trips to collect biological information from harvested fish.

Headboats are already required to report all fishing activity to National Marine Fisheries Service and are not surveyed by FWC during the red snapper season. Anglers returning from a headboat fishing trip may have also been asked for permission by a state or federal biologist to collect samples from harvested fish.


We appreciate all the anglers and captains who took time to participate in surveys and allowed biologists to sample their catch. The red snapper sampling effort on the east coast of Florida is a great example of scientists and fishermen working together to collect high-quality data needed to manage Florida’s fisheries.

View the results from the 2017 Atlantic Red Snapper season sampling efforts.