The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (M.D.M.R.) is asking recreational fishermen to participate in a voluntary reporting program for red snapper during the 2014 season. Red snapper season begins Sunday, June 1st, at midnight and ends June 9th at midnight.
"The captain of each recreational vessel is being asked to answer a series of simple questions for every trip," said Matt Hill, Director of the Finfish Bureau of M.D.M.R. "This survey will provide the M.D.M.R. better data on the recreational effort in the fishery and a more precise number of red snapper being landed."
Only one report is required for each trip, and captains are asked to answer the following questions: Vessel owner/captain's name, vessel owner/captain's email, vessel registration number, date of trip, number of anglers, duration of trip (hours), number of red snapper landed, and public or private access (public or private marina or dock).
The vessel captain should report the catch so that only one report is filed for each trip. A report should be filed for each trip that targets red snapper, even if no snapper were landed.
A report can be filed in several ways:
*An online form can be filled out at www.dmr.ms.gov
*Catch cards can be filled out and mailed to Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Attn: Matt Hill, 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, MS 39530. Cards can be downloaded at the M.D.M.R. website or picked up at most bait and tackle shops.
*Surveyors will be at select ramps and marinas collecting biological information on the red snapper harvest. They will have catch cards available for captains to fill out.
*Comments or information may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The red snapper reporting program is a result of ideas submitted at the M.D.M.R. Red Snapper Summit on May 6. The data obtained from the form will help M.D.M.R. obtain accurate data regarding red snapper.
"The management of red snapper has been challenging and controversial," Hill said. "However, all involved agree on the need to have good data on the size of the stock, the amount of fish being harvested and the effort in the fishery. The M.D.M.R. believes that this data will provide more accurate and precise information that estimates the number of recreational trips and the number of fish harvested. The collection of accurate data is needed to formulate a reliable management plan."
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the M.D.M.R. online at www.dmr.ms.gov.