National Fisherman

Since July 2012, I’ve been posting about a study of artificial reefs along the Texas coast. Scientists at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Corpus Christi conducted the research, funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, to determine whether these structures increase fish populations, and whether their location, type and size matter.

For the most part, the Gulf of Mexico lacks complex habitat; clay, sand or silt with little structure dominate its floor (especially near the coasts). This leaves fishermen and recreational divers dependent on artificial reefs to find much marine life. Texas has one of the largest rigs-to-reef programs in the US, with 140 oil and gas platforms reefed since 1990, but few assessments of these structures (and their economic and ecological importance) had been done previously.

HRI researchers reported preliminary results of the study at their 66th annual meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute in Corpus Christi between Nov. 4 and 8.

In one presentation, “Relative abundance and size structure of Red Snapper, Jutjanus Campechanus, across habitat types in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico,” Matthew Streich, Mattew Ajemian, Jennifer Wetz and Greg Stunz reported on the relative abundance and size of red snapper across three different types of habitats: standing oil and gas platforms, artificial reefs and natural banks. Researchers had captured 396 red snapper ranging in length from 282 to 735 mm on vertical longlines between Oct. 2012 and July 2013. Larger hooks caught larger fish, and fish caught on natural and artificial reefs were longer than those hooked on standing platforms (see graph).

Read the full story at Scientific American>>

National Fisherman Live

Brian Rothschild of the Center for Sustainable Fisheries on revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

National Fisherman Live: 4/8/14

Inside the Industry

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting applicants for open advisory panel seats as well as applications from scientists interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee.

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The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA), a nonprofit trade association representing commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, recently announced a new leadership team. Incorporated in 1952, its administrative office is in Bayboro, N.C.

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