Snook shindig highlights Mote’s restocking effortsFrom the October 14, 2009 Issue
SUN PHOTO/RUSTY CHINNIS
Mote hopes to keep snook
populations healthy in Sarasota Bay, so anglers
like Craig Baird can experience the thrill of the fish
of a lifetime. Baird was fishing Sarasota Bay with Captain
Todd Romine out of Mainsail Marina on Anna Maria.
Mote Marine’s Snook Shindig Research Tournament, an event intended to showcase Mote fisheries' enhancement research is being held this weekend, Oct. 16 and 17. The tournament, now in its 11th year, aims to get the public involved in snook restocking efforts.
This year, the shindig added a Hook Kids on Fishing event on Oct. 10 at the Mote Aquaculture Research Park on Fruitville Road in Sarasota. The event was intended as a kick-off for the snook shindig and was a resounding success, as over 100 children from the age of 6 through 15 participated in the free outing. Every participant received a free rod, reel and tackle box.
The event featured clinics on casting, cast netting, fish habitat, biology, conservation, fishing safety, knot tying and catch-and-release tactics, as well as a demonstration of Gyotaku (Japanese art of fish printing). The kids had an opportunity to fish the center's stocked pond with professional guides and knowledgeable anglers. Fly fishing instructors were also on hand for those wanting a lesson on the finer art of angling. At the end of the morning clinics, everyone was treated to lunch compliments of the Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association.
The Hook Kids on Fishing program is part of an educational outreach by the nonprofit Anglers For Conservation. Founder Rodney Smith, of Coastal Angler Magazine, www.coastalanglermagazine.com, was on hand and conducted the conservation clinic for the kids.
Mote Marine’s Snook Shindig Research Tournament is a special catch, sample and release tournament used to help document contributions to the snook fishery by Mote, which has been tagging and releasing snook for over a decade through its Center for Fisheries Enhancement. Hatchery snook were released into Sarasota Bay over the years after being fitted with tiny coded tags.
These fish are the focus of a pilot study to identify the potential for stock enhancement and release strategies. All snook captured during the tournament are monitored by Mote researchers, who capture tag data and use the information to improve their stock enhancement methods. In the past, the tournament has documented that the hatchery-reared snook are contributing to the fishery in Sarasota Bay. Changes in snook release strategies based on the results of these pilot studies have improved survival of stocked snook as much as 200 percent.
The Center for Fisheries Enhancement conducts the Snook Shindig for outreach to help the local community learn about Mote fisheries research and fish conservation. The tournament also allows scientists to gather additional evidence on stocked snook contribution rates in the fishery and about snook population size and movements in general. The results are published in various scientific journals. If you’re interested, check out the Science Consortium for Ocean Replenishment for current publications on Mote’s snook stock enhancement research in Sarasota Bay.
The mandatory captain's meeting for the tournament will be held on Friday at 6 p.m. All anglers are required to attend to receive a Florida Wildlife Commission special permit, angler ID numbers and log sheets. All questions about the tournament will also be addressed at the Captain’s meeting.
Fishing starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday after check-in at the captain's meeting. Weigh-in stations will be open from the end of the captain’s meeting until noon Saturday. Fish must be taken to a weigh-in station to be eligible for the tournament. Boats may depart to any desired location in the Sarasota Bay area (from Cortez to Venice) after the captain's meeting. Catches will be processed by taking the snook to weigh-in stations with the related angler ID number and log sheet.
For more information on the event and to sign up go to: www.mote.org, or call 941-388-4441.