FWC’s Gulf Reef Fish Survey methods receive national certification

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is excited to announce that methods used in the agency’s Gulf Reef Fish Survey data collection program have been officially certified by NOAA Fisheries.

This is a big milestone for the FWC and will help us continue to achieve our agency priority of improving recreational data for several important reef fish species including red snapper and gag grouper.

For the past several years, FWC has worked collaboratively with NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), regional partners and academic experts from across the country to develop the new survey methods. The success of this effort is due in large part to the many anglers who participate in the survey.

NOAA certification means the Gulf Reef Fish Survey estimates are eligible for use in stock assessments. The goal of the Gulf Reef Fish Survey is to improve recreational data for reef fish species.

This survey, along with data collected via MRIP, allowed FWC to manage red snapper in Gulf state and federal waters last year and this year.

Have you signed up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey? Recreational anglers who fish from private boats off Florida’s Gulf coast (excluding Monroe County) are required to sign up annually via FWC’s licensing system (GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or in-person at any location that sells licenses) if they plan to target one of the following species: red and vermilion snappers; gag, black and red groupers; gray triggerfish; greater amberjack; and other jack species. Once you’ve signed up, you may be selected to receive a survey in the mail. Please return this survey as soon as you are able.

Learn more about how to sign up, and why this program is so important by visiting MyFWC.com/Marine and clicking on “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Reef Fish Survey,” which is under the “Reef Fish” tab. For information on how this research is used, visit MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater” and “Gulf Reef Fish Survey,” which is under the “Commercial and Recreational Fisheries” section.