Study offering reward for reporting tagged greater amberjack

Captain Brett Falterman of Fish Research Support displays a conventionally-tagged greater...
Captain Brett Falterman of Fish Research Support displays a conventionally-tagged greater amberjack before releasing the fish off the coast of Louisiana. (Photos courtesy of Dr. Michael Dance, Louisiana State University and Dr. Marcus Drymon, Mississippi State University.)(Source: University of South Alabama)
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 3:43 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WSFA) - The University of South Alabama is leading a $11.7 million study of greater amberjack, and they’ll pay fisherman to help them out.

The project is offering a $250 reward for each tagged greater amberjack reported, regardless if it has one or two tags. Upon catching a conventionally tagged greater amberjack, fishermen may call the phone number printed on the tag to report it to the project team. In addition to the tag number, fishermen will be asked to provide other information, including the fishing sector, date of catch, fish’s length and weight, and latitude and longitude where the fish was caught.

Some greater amberjack will be fitted with acoustic tags that emit signals unique to each fish. A total of 450 acoustic tags – one per greater amberjack – will be deployed throughout the U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico from North Carolina to Texas, according to the university.

The count’s goal is to estimate the number of greater amberjack in the U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, with additional objectives focusing on movement patterns and biological information. According to NOAA Fisheries, greater amberjack in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico are overfished despite a decades-long rebuilding effort. In contrast, the U.S. South Atlantic stock is not overfished. The study aims to understand how these two separately managed stocks are connected, and how that information may help management guidelines.

The study is funded by the National Sea Grant College Program and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.

The U.S. South Atlantic greater amberjack recreational fishing season is currently open. Although the Gulf of Mexico season is currently closed, it is set to reopen later this year.

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