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NOAA Sea Grant, NOAA Fisheries announce funding opportunity for design of red snapper research

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: May 16,  2016

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, on behalf of the Sea Grant college programs in the Gulf of Mexico region and NOAA Fisheries, is accepting proposals to develop an experimental design(s) that will be incorporated into larger advanced technology and mark-recapture requests for proposals planned for Fiscal Year 2017.

The design will be used to assess the population of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) on artificial reefs and other structures, and as the basis for a Gulf-wide estimate (with estimates also produced for natural habitats) of absolute abundance. The design may include traditional tagging methods and/or advanced technology for a large-scale field projects to be used in red snapper stock assessments.

The red snapper is a popular target of sportfishers and the commercial fishing industry throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Historical overharvesting resulted in a depleted population, but under current management measures the population is recovering, with full recovery expected by 2032. Some controversy surrounds the current stock assessment for red snapper, particularly with regard to accuracy of population estimates on artificial reefs and other structures considered to be difficult to sample using trawl surveys. Given this, interest exists in the development of an independent estimate of red snapper abundance in the U.S. portion of the Gulf of Mexico. There are two main objectives for the proposed program:

  1. Assess the population of red snapper and provide a Gulf-wide estimate of red snapper that are two years old and older
  2. Estimate biological parameters, such as growth and natural mortality rates

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program and NOAA Fisheries are providing funding for this two-phase red snapper research competition.

The deadline for letters of intent for the design phase of this research effort is 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday, June 3, 2016. For detailed information, go to http://masgc.org/funding/red-snapper.

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