The waters along Florida’s coastline attract millions of recreational anglers and thousands of commercial fishers. Marine Fisheries Research biologists study the fish and invertebrates found in the state’s saltwater environments, gathering data important for the management of these species. The section’s research includes collecting and analyzing fishing data, monitoring species status and abundance, investigating biological information, and breeding and rearing certain species to enhance or rebuild their populations.
Highlights on Current Research
Improving Fisheries-Dependent Data Collection
The Fisheries-Dependent Monitoring (FDM) program has implemented a three-year study to develop a biological sampling program to improve stock assessments in the South Atlantic for popular recreational targets. Read More >
FWRI scientists study the smalltooth sawfish in Florida to better understand and manage this endangered species. Read More >
Sample of Active Projects
Acoustic tagging and tracking with an extensive underwater acoustic receiver array system is being used to examine greater amberjack spawning site fidelity and movement ecology in the Florida Keys by Marine Fish Biology researchers. The sonic tags will transmit data for up to 10 years, allowing researchers to track individuals as they move to and from spawning areas.
Harvesting Sun Corals
FWRI researchers are currently studying sun corals, particularly their interactions with native corals and the potential impacts of collection on the species abundance and distribution. The collection of stony corals is prohibited throughout Florida. However, marine life collectors have expressed interest in collecting these invasive sun corals.
Red Snapper Research
Multiple tagging studies are currently being conducted to better understand red snapper movements and stock recovery. Red snapper in two Gulf of Mexico locations have been outfitted with acoustic tags to lend insight on site fidelity, movement patterns, catch and release mortality and catch rates.