Volume 70

Tails n’ Scales: Use of an Innovative Reporting System for Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) Management in Mississippi

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Date: November, 2017

Pages: 324-325

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Merida, Yucatan

Country: México


Red Snapper are one of the most targeted fish in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) with over 5 million pounds of fish harvested by the recreational sector each year. It is also one of the most controversially managed fishes, as both recreational and commercial fisherman target this species for its excellent table fare and catchability. Due to the magnitude of fishing pressure, accurate and timely estimation of Red Snapper harvest is of the utmost importance so that fishermen will not exceed the allocated quota each year. Estimating the fish harvested by private recreational and for-hire fishermen in the GOM is complex, as nearly a million anglers participate in a short, derby-style fishing season each year. With this in mind, Mississippi’s Commission on Marine Resources adopted a modification to Mississippi regulations in 2015, requiring mandatory reporting of all recreational Red Snapper landings in the state. That same year, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) partnered with a software developer to create a mobile and web-based application for users to report recreational Red Snapper landings. The goal of the program was to develop a simple and concise reporting system that is easily accessed and intuitive to the user. Data collected are analyzed and used to estimate catch, effort, compliance rates, and biomass harvested in real time for the recreational fishery. The program is currently in its third year, and is being peer-reviewed for certification through NOAA. Tails n’ Scales represents a successful implementation of a Red Snapper reporting system and has increased accuracy for Red Snapper harvest estimates in the recreational sector. In the future, MDMR hopes to expand the program to incorporate data on other reef and inshore species

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