A fisherman has been awarded a $500 certificate for Masters from the government as a reward for returning tags to help the red hind research tagging programme.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources awarded the gift to Alex Wilks in return for his tags which are assisting tagging studies.
Marine Resources officers have been conducting the studies on red hind and black grouper over the past year to better understand their movements around the Bermuda platform, particularly at spawning aggregations sites.
The closed season for the red hind spawning areas was recently shifted forward by two weeks to account for behavioural changes that resource managers think are related to increasing seawater temperatures. With collaboration from several commercial fishermen, over 300 red hinds have been tagged with numbered plastic ‘spaghetti’ tags, and acoustic transmitters were implanted in the body cavities of several fish to monitor their presence at the spawning grounds.
Over the past year, five people returned tag information from 13 red hinds, contributing to our understanding of the catch rates and population size of this species in Bermuda.
Tag numbers went into a draw for the gift certificate, donated by Masters president Susan Wilson, who is chair of the Marine Resources Board, the stakeholder group that advises the environment minister on marine environmental issues.
Hundreds of tagged red hinds are still at large and, although the draw has now been made, members of the public are encouraged to continue to submit the tags and information on any further tagged fish that may be caught. If you catch a tagged fish, please note the date and catch location and contact fisheries on 239-2326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fisheries would like to get the length and weight of the fish and remove the tags.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources urges the public to familiarise themselves with the Seasonally Protected Areas and the revised legislation, which also includes changes to the daily catch limits, in order to help conserve our red hind population.