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GCRL Red Snapper Release
October 1999 Release

On October 26 & 27, 1999, I had the opportunity to witness the release of some of the 1200 red snapper released. The fish were released on Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks  FH-1 Site using GCRL reefs specially constructed for the purpose. Next year, the plan is to release about 10,000 fish.

These pictures capture in action the first ever pilot release of hatchery-reared red snapper. This work is part of a research consortium's investigation of how effective hatchery releases may be in helping to increase the red snapper catch in our fisheries. The consortium, called the Gulf of Mexico Marine Stock Enhancement Program, is funded by NOAA/NMFS. It involves the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Mississippi, The Oceanic Institute in Hawaii, and Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida; researchers from these three labs all worked together to make this release possible. Plans call for many more such pilot releases to determine effective release strategies and, eventually, monitor the contribution of hatchery fish to our local red snapper fishery. Stay tuned for updates on their progress.

For information on how they were raised, see the May 1999 info page.
Also checkout the October 2000 Update Page.
Click on the pictures for larger images.

Research Vessel "Kit Jones" and her Avon assisted in deployment of the red snapper. holding tanks
Red Snapper suspended in a plastic bag filled with oxygen, waiting to be moved into a transport bag and eventually released onto the reef 62 feet below the surface.
Research Vessel "Tommy Munro" also assited in the project.
Data is carefully recorded by Nate Brennan, Assistant Program Manager of the Stock Enhancement Program at Mote Marine Lab.
The "Kit Jones" and some of her crew, Jason, Alan, and Lex.
This is what reef #15 looked like before 150 red snapper were released on it.
Here is the same reef after the release.
Here is another shot of the same reef after the release. The fish did well and stayed around the structure.
Here is yet another shot of the same reef after the release. Despite a few loses to predators, the release appears to be very successful.
Here are some snapper making use of the 150+ concrete blocks used in construction of the small reefs.
Here is a similar shot.