Red Snapper Research on the Atlantic Coast
The recreational harvest season in the South Atlantic is an opportunity for FWC to collect important data from harvested fish that is needed for future population assessments. FWC biologists survey anglers and take biological samples during the 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 Atlantic red snapper season, FWC collects 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 monitor vessel activity through each inlet and conduct surveys with anglers as they return from fishing. Biologists also ask for permission to weigh and measure harvested fish, and ask to collect a sample from red snapper that is 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 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 be asked for permission by a state or federal biologist to collect samples from harvested fish.
We appreciate all the anglers and captains who take time to participate in surveys and allow 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.