Local anglers tag fish for FIU

Jessica Lee with CAST volunteer fishermenLocal fishermen are getting in on Everglades research through the Coastal Angler Science Team (CAST). Launched by FIU graduate student Jessica Lee, working under assistant professor Jennifer Rehage, the effort recruits local anglers to capture data on snook and bass in the Upper Shark River region of Everglades National Park.

While the impetus behind restoring natural water flows through the Everglades has been concentrated on wading birds, sea grasses and coral reefs, less is known about the potential impact on fish populations. Lee, Rehage and Ph.D. student Ross Boucek have measured, weighed and tagged about 2,500 fish over the past two years, and they're calling on local fishermen to help by providing recapture data – when and where the tagged fish are later captured, how large it is and how much it weighs.  

"We're putting all this work into conservation and management and they are the ones who are committed to the ecosystem," Lee said. "This program gets them involved with that."

One of the first to volunteer for CAST is David Rose, who has been keeping detailed logs of his fishing expeditions since 1982. With the help of a tag reader supplied by the FIU researchers, he is now diligently scanning his catches.

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