Purchase of Whole Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) from Recreational and Commercial Anglers for the Purpose of Characterizing a Coast Wide Population Structure – Year I
- To purchase cobia in the round from cooperating recreational and commercial anglers at various locations along the South Carolina coast.
- Analyze the tissue, hard parts and gonads to characterize the population structure of cobia in South Carolina waters.
Cobia is one of the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico’s most popular recreational species and, in the Grand Strand, a popular seasonal commercial fishery. An effort is underway to develop a multidisciplinary program to characterize the coast wide population structure of the SC cobia fishery. As part of this effort we are going to attempt to procure cobia from all segments of the fishery by the purchase of tissue, hard parts and gonads from fish landed in the state. We are already putting together a network of cooperating recreational anglers in order to cover this component of the fishery. However in order to obtain samples from the commercial fishery, which is primarily prosecuted in offshore waters, we will have to arrange in advance to purchase fish that are landed in the round. Landing fish in the round is not a typical method of operation for commercial fishers, who typically gut fish as they are captured, in an effort to increase product shelf life. Thus we are requesting that funds be allocated to cover the cost of procuring these samples. This approach has been used successfully by MARMAP for a number of years and we believe it would be the most efficient way to collect samples from this segment of the fishery.
Personnel will establish a network of cooperating recreational anglers to purchase whole cobia for analysis. In addition, at least 100 fish during the course of the commercial season (spring-summer) will be purchased, at market price (approx. $3.50 per pound), from various wholesale dealers along the coast. A DNR port agent will be responsible for purchasing the fish and transporting them back to the lab for dissection. Fishermen will be instructed to record catch data because DNR will only purchase Cobia that have been tagged with all the necessary data.