Anglers Asked to Report Tagged Snook in Florida Bay and the Florida
Biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) are asking anglers to be on
the lookout for and report tagged snook caught in the waters of Florida Bay and the Florida
Common snook are being actively tagged by professional fishing guides and biologists in
Florida Bay and the Florida Keys for a pilot study funded by the Wildlife Foundation of
Florida/Discover Florida’s Oceans license tag. The study is coordinated by biologists with
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife
This pilot study will examine seasonal movement, genetic exchange between the Gulf and
Atlantic stocks (which have been managed separately since 1997), and possible
recruitment sources of common snook in Florida Bay and the Florida Keys, an area lacking
in information on large scale movement and recruitment of snook. Genetic material (a fin
clip) is collected by the fishing guide or biologist at the time the fish is initially tagged and
released, and is used to determine the degree of genetic exchange that may occur.
Past tagging research has shown snook that belong to the Atlantic stock tend to move
seasonally, some long distances. Due to this movement pattern, it is very likely that some
of the fish tagged in this study may travel from the Keys into the southern Atlantic counties
(Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade) and be recaptured there. Past tagging research has
shown that snook that belong to the Gulf stock show a tendency to move much shorter
distances, however, the fish tagged in this study may also be recaptured in areas adjacent
to the northwestern section of the study area, such as Whitewater Bay up through the
So what can you do, as an angler, to assist biologists with this study?
If you capture a common snook with a yellow dart tag, which will be located next to the first
dorsal fin (on the fish’s back), please accurately record the four-digit tag number
(numbered 1000 through 4999), the date, total length of the fish, and location of capture.
The tag itself may be fouled with algae, which is normal. Carefully use your fingernail and
scrape it off to reveal the tag number, but do not use a sharp object as this may damage the
printing on the tag.
Please do not remove the tag from the fish or cut off any portion of it.
Carefully release the fish alive back into the water after recording the valuable information.
This will allow biologists to track long-term movement via multiple recaptures and
releases. This practice is encouraged. If you decide, however, to harvest the fish, please be
certain it is within current state regulations for common snook (seasonal, bag, and slot
limits apply— please check your local area regulations as they vary by coast).
Finally, please report your tagged snook capture by phone to our toll-free FWC Tagging
Hotline number at 1-800-367-4461, which is available 24 hours a day. Information on the
tagged snook capture can also be reported via e-mail at TagReturn@MyFWC.com.
Reward t-shirts will be distributed to anglers who report complete recapture information.
Additionally, anglers who are interested may also receive periodic reports on the progress
of the study. Those reporting anglers will also be entered into a drawing for a cash prize!
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