Ready for Red Snapper Season? Make Sure Your Catch Counts

By Nikki Buskey | Published: May 26, 2020

Ready for Red Snapper Season? Make Sure Your Catch Counts

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Want to make your catch count this Red Snapper season? Texas will open up its Red Snapper fishery on June 1 for an estimated 63 days for recreational anglers (until August 3) and 62 days for charter boats (until August 2), and researchers at the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are encouraging you to download the iSnapper app (http://isnapper.org/) before heading out on your first fishing trip.

“Our iSnapper app and partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) continue to benefit recreational anglers by providing great catch data that helps to give access to recreational anglers through extended seasons, and promotes a robust Red Snapper population that are eager to bite,” said Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation Director Dr. Greg Stunz. 

Tara Topping, a research specialist II at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Project Leader for iSnapper, said that downloading the app is an easy way for anglers to get involved in an important citizen science effort supporting better management and access to this fishery.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council unanimously voted last year to give state fisheries management agencies like TPWD the responsibility to manage harvest of Red Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico beginning in 2020. Used in partnership with state wildlife officials, the app provides users with a way to log their catches and fishing trips. The data is sent securely to researchers to generate catch statistics and better manage the Red Snapper fishery.

“iSnapper will be used as a comparative way to estimate the total Red Snapper harvest. Through new state-based regional management authorization, the TPWD is now managing the state’s quota, and will be monitoring the harvest to ensure we don’t exceed our quota,” Topping said. “This season we hope to keep collecting information to ensure we have the best data available in order to allow fishermen as many days on the water as we can.”

Red Snapper are one of the most highly targeted and controversial fish species in the northern Gulf. Considered overfished since the 1980s, anglers have seen a dramatic reduction in both the fishing season and bag limits in recent decades until management practices changed last year.

iSnapper was designed to be simple, fast, and easy to use on the go. After downloading and registering isnapper-app.pngwith 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 save favorite fishing photos, get local weather reports, and view previously submitted trips to save favorite fishing spots.

“With the season opening on June 1, we hope to keep our great momentum going,” Stunz said. “Please continue to enter your catch data on iSnapper. Your participation is key to healthy fish stocks.”