Make Your Catch Count, Download iSnapper for this Red Snapper Season
CORPUS CHRISTI – Ready to get out on the water for the 2021 federal red snapper season? Make your catch count this summer by downloading and using the iSnapper app, created by the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
The red snapper season will open in federal waters on June 1, and anglers can take an active role in helping to secure the long-term sustainability of this prized Gulf of Mexico fishery by downloading the iSnapper app and reporting their catch to help capture valuable fisheries data and ensure the most accurate harvest numbers possible, said HRI researcher Tara Topping, project lead for iSnapper.
The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife is still running harvest calculations and will be using iSnapper data to conduct a comparative analysis of their own creel surveys, Topping said. That means using the app is an easy way for anglers to get directly involved in an important citizen science effort supporting better management and access to this fishery.
“Your trip can help give the state a more accurate view of how many fish are being harvested,” Topping said.
Red snapper have faced management challenges in recent decades, and one of the biggest challenges has been capturing accurate fisheries data. Red snapper are one of the most popular and at times controversial fish species in the northern Gulf, and fishing seasons and bag limits have been highly restricted in the past in an attempt to manage the fishery. That changed in recent years as our understanding of the fishery evolved with better and more data. A three-year independent population assessment requested by Congress and led by researchers at the Sportfish Center recently found that the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is home to about 110 million red snapper, three times more than previously estimated.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to give state fisheries management agencies like TPWD the responsibility to manage harvest of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico beginning in 2020. The Sportfish Center has partnered with TPWD since 2015, when iSnapper was redesigned to include private recreational anglers, to help generate catch and effort estimates to aid in the management of the red snapper fishery.
So now you know why you should use iSnapper, but how does it work? iSnapper was designed to be simple, fast, and easy to use on the go. After downloading and registering with iSnapper, anglers simply open a new trip and answer a few questions each time they head out on the water. It is especially important to provide accurate vessel registration numbers during the registration process so data can be properly validated and recorded.
Then, anglers can put their phones away for the rest of the day. On the way back to the dock, users can reopen iSnapper, record the number of fish they harvested, released, and give a general fishing location. Moments later, the data is sent securely to researchers to generate catch statistics and better manage the red snapper fishery.
Fishermen can also view previously submitted trips and have the option to submit a socioeconomic survey to help better understand how valuable this resource truly is to the state.
Make your catch count in 2021! For more information visit iSnapper.org.