Common Snook and Gray Snapper have been observed using freshwater springs in rivers to keep warm during winter, much like manatees. As their range expands northward, these thermal refuges are critical for survival, but we have limited information on how snook and snapper use the rivers and springs over time and space.
Recently, FWRI’s Fish Biology and Fisheries Independent Monitoring sections partnered with Southwest Florida Water Management District
, UF IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station
, Florida Sea Grant
and UF IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory
to tag snook and snapper in rivers along the springs coast. During a 3.5 day blitz, biologists tagged 70 snook and 30 snapper in the Crystal, Chassahowitzka, and Pithlachascotee (Cotee) Rivers. Acoustic tags (which ping a unique ID recorded onto a receiver) were surgically implanted in each fish and an array of acoustic receivers was deployed within each river. This work will document how fish use the rivers year-round and specifically how much area fish use to congregate around springheads during cold snaps.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Each fish has an external tag (yellow or orange) by their dorsal fin. If you catch a tagged snook or snapper and plan to release it, please leave the external tag in place and report the tag #, date, location, and total length to our Tag Return Hotline at 1-800-367-4461 or [email protected]
If you catch and keep a tagged fish, please retrieve the acoustic tag from the body cavity and call 1-800-367-4461 with the same information. A biologist will arrange to collect the acoustic tag which can be implanted in another fish.