The South Atlantic red snapper population has been a valuable fishery since the 1950’s. The population declined in the 1980’s. The spawning biomass population has generally increased since then due to management and successful reproduction and survival of offspring, but the stock continues to be well below the optimum target level. In 2010, the commercial and recreational fishery was closed. The closure eliminated landing data (i.e., fishery-dependent data) used to monitor the stock status. There also was very limited fishery-independent survey data available to track positive signs of recovery starting to emerge in 2012.
Based on fishing industry input, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission secured limited funding in 2010 to implement angler-based tagging program to assessment the movement and growth of red snapper. Additional support was provided by Bonefish Grill, Ocean Trust, Southeastern Fisheries Association and other industry partners that funded 22 directed trips which tagged 1,064 red snapper. An additional 1,096 red snapper were tagged during other research projects for a combined total of 3,340 red snapper tagged. Input from the industry sponsored tagging program was invaluable. It aided in the development of long term reef fish monitoring methods, provided locations of historical hard-bottom areas and associated reef fish, and vessels from which research was conducted from to offset costs of offshore sampling to the State of Florida. See news video coverage of Snapper Tagging