Georgia saltwater anglers now have the opportunity to earn $100 rewards while contributing important data to help scientists manage the state’s Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) population.
The Georgia Cooperative Angler Tagging Project, an initiative of the Coastal Resources Division (CRD) of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), today announces that Red Drum along the state’s 105-mile coast have been tagged with pink tags worth $100 per return.
“When anglers catch a Red Drum with one of these pink tags, they are asked to remove the tag, record the date, location and total length of the catch, and mail the tag and info to us to receive their $100 reward,” said Dr. Jared Flowers, CRD’s Research and Surveys Unit leader. “The purpose of this study is to evaluate angler reporting rates.”
Anglers should also include their name, mailing and email addresses, and phone number. Rewards will be mailed in the form of a check payable to the angler.
Pink tags and information should be mailed to:
Coastal Resources Division Attn: Cooperative Angler Tagging Project One Conservation Way Brunswick, GA 31520
These pink tags are in addition to the more than 8,000 yellow tags applied to a variety of species across the coast since 1988. Anglers are asked not to remove yellow tags if they are releasing their catch.
Rather, anglers can record the tag number and the same location, date-and-length data needed for pink tags, and mail the information to the same address for rewards such as T-shirts, hats and other apparel. Yellow-tag fish can also be reported online at www.CoastalGaDNR.org/FishTag.
The Cooperative Angler Tagging Project is a fishery-dependent survey conducted by CRD. The survey helps fisheries scientists make informed decisions about stock management by providing growth, movement, fate and habitat preference data. Other yellow-tagged species currently include Tripletail and Black Drum.
“The tagging program is one of the best opportunities we have for anglers to become citizen scientists and help us make sure our resources will be around for future generations,” Flowers said. “We greatly appreciate the assistance of anglers in this ongoing effort.”
Anglers are reminded that they must have a valid Georgia fishing license and free Saltwater Information Program (SIP) permit to be eligible. Georgia regulations allow anglers to keep up to five Red Drum between 14 and 23 inches per day.
Red Drum have been the official saltwater fish of Georgia since 2006, and the state record is 47 pounds, 7 ounces, set by Richard Price in 1986. Because the species is now managed using a slot limit, no further records can be set.
The Coastal Resources Division of DNR is the state agency entrusted to manage Georgia’s coastal marshes, beaches, waters and fisheries for the benefit of future and present generations. More information is available at www.CoastalGaDNR.org or by calling 912-264-7218.