Red Fish - Recently Caught
Retired SCDNR marine biologist Capt. Glenn Ulrich was initially funded for this study in 2007 using a grant from the Hilton Head Reef Foundation and SCDNR's Cooperative Research Program. Under this initial grant ($33,700) Glenn was able to purchase all necessary research equipment and continue the sampling trips through the end of 2009. After availability of SCDNR and NOAA (Sea Grant) funds ceased, Glenn was able to continue the sampling program on a limited scale in 2010 with some local funding by the Hilton Head Reef Foundation. The goal of this research program was to augment existing SCDNR studies of adult red drum to provide more complete information on the relative abundance, size composition, movements and stock mixing in the Port Royal Sound system. The sampling trips are conducted with area charter boat captains, which includes DNA sampling PIT tagging and scanning, conventional tagging and size and weight measurements. All the information is sent to SCDNR to add to their data base.
This research program needs to be continued by the Hilton Head Reef Foundation for the following reasons and benefits:
- Red Drum is economically the most important recreational fishery in the PRS system
- The PRS Red Drum is an indigenous stock, the health of which depends mainly on the health of the PRS system.
- SCDNR has only limited sampling programs (long lining) which are periodically conducted only aboard their research vessel. Most of these are not during the critical red drum spawning season (Oct -Dec). Glenn is able to concentrate his sampling during these fall months using the local charter captains and recreational fishermen.
- The program will continue to build on the enviable, cooperative, conservation relationship between the fishing community, SCDNR and the PRSF.
- All of the important equipment, scanners and tags have already been purchased ($8,500) and is the property of the HHRF. The only additional annual cost is for bait, minor supplies, fuel supplements, Glenn's travel expenses from Charleston and writing an annual summary.
- The program can be augmented inexpensively using hydrophone techniques to also identify critical spawning locations during sampling trips.
- As with the SCDNR long lining program, shark sampling can be included in the research at minimal cost.