Mississippi State part of fisheries study in Gulf of Mexico

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Researchers from Mississippi State University Extension are involved in a project to estimate the number of greater amberjack living in the U.S. waters of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. (Submitted photo by University of South Alabama Fisheries Ecology Lab/Dauphin Island Sea Lab)

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Fisheries experts at Mississippi State University and other research institutions are conducting an $11.7 million study of the greater amberjack, a species in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that is threatened by overfishing.

The work is funded by a $9 million federal grant plus matching funds from the various institutions for a total of $11.7 million. In addition to MSU, the 13 institutions involved also include the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), the University of South Alabama (USA), and The Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

“The greater amberjack abundance study in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico is one way Sea Grant is helping to ensure a safe and sustainable supply of seafood products for current and future generations,” said Jonathan Pennock, program director of the National Sea Grant College. “This project will provide valuable information for the management of greater amberjack as well as insight useful to future fisheries research and engagement.”

Many members of the research team recently participated in a great red snapper count. Lessons learned in that study about tactics should benefit the current study. Once underway, the team will use technologies including hydroacoustics, underwater cameras and remotely operated vehicles to monitor greater amberjack populations.

Fishermen will also be involved, as they will be asked to indicate on online maps exactly where they usually catch fish. This data will help researchers determine where to take samples and focus their efforts on areas where amberjacks are known to live.

Additionally, the study will provide fish tags worth $250 to anglers who return them and report catch locations.

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