Image credit: Greater Amberjack by Diane Peebles
By: Lourdes Rodriguez, 954-577-6363 office, 954-242-8439 mobile, firstname.lastname@example.org
A gap of knowledge surrounding the status and future of the Greater Amberjack (Seriola dumerili) is the driving force behind a $10 Million project involving the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Florida Sea Grant. The 2020-2023 Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Greater Amberjack Research Program is funded by Congress and is at the public input stage.
“We are looking to reach all stakeholders involved in the greater amberjack fishery – from recreational anglers to commercial and even seafood dealers,” said Shelly Krueger, a Florida Sea Grant agent at UF/IFAS Extension Monroe County. “Living in the Florida Keys, our locals regularly fish in both the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic, so we look forward to their unique perspective on this migratory schooling species.”
The greater amberjack is an important recreational and commercial fish species in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic regions and filling in knowledge gaps will help determine what it takes to sustainably manage the future of this fishery.
“Multiple data gaps have been identified for greater amberjack, including better estimates of recreational fishing efforts, impacts of predators on amberjack during capture and after release, spawning activity, population connectivity, habitat selection and much more,” said Angela Collins, a Florida Sea Grant agent at UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County.
UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant and faculty from UF’s School of Fisheries are leading a visioning process with Sea Grant programs in nine other states across the Southeast including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. At the center of the process are six upcoming virtual listening sessions scheduled for December.
“We have obtained input on management issues and data gaps from stakeholders throughout the region and drafted research priorities for the program” said Kai Lorenzen, a professor of fisheries at UF who is leading the visioning process. “In a final step, stakeholders are invited to give feedback on draft research priorities at six virtual listening sessions scheduled for early December.”
To participate in one or more of the virtual listening sessions listed, click on the date with the link to the registration, and participation links will be provided via email. Participants can attend more than one listening session, if desired.
Gulf of Mexico Region:
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama: December 8, 3-5 pm CDT
Florida: December 10, 6-8 pm EST
South Atlantic Region:
Florida, Georgia: December 2, 3-5 pm EST
North & South Carolina, Virginia: December 3, 6-8 pm EST
Florida: December 9, 3-5 pm EST
The visioning process is the first stage in a three-phase approach approved during the 2020 Senate Appropriations Committee for the 2020-2023 Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Greater Amberjack Research Program. The program is to be implemented through a cooperative agreement with the National Sea Grant Office (NSGO) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
The listening sessions give the opportunity for greater amberjack stakeholders to let their opinions and ideas become heard which may help direct possible research outcomes.
“Often individuals that interact with the species in multiple ways can have some of the best insight as they are exposed to issues encountered across various stakeholder groups and provide ideas for research/management that empathizes with a wider range of users,” said Michael Sipos, a Florida Sea Grant agent at UF/IFAS Extension Collier County. “This is also a great way for participants to hear other stakeholder group opinions and learn how they may interact with the fishery.”
For more information about the 2020-2023 Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Greater Amberjack Research Program, visit archive.flseagrant.org/fisheries/gaj-researchprogram/