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    Anglers Asked to Report Tagged Snook in Florida Bay and the Florida
    Keys
    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
    Keys.

    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
    Research Institute.

    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
    10,000 Islands.   

    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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