A pier fish-tagging event was hosted in Horry County recently as part of an ongoing Cooperative Research effort spearheaded by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
The tagging event took place along the Apache Oceanfront Pier and Springmaid Beach Pier in Myrtle Beach. More than 140 anglers signed up to compete in the catching and releasing of a select species of fish, including spot, croaker, whiting, weakfish, flounder, pompano and red drum. The fish caught by participating anglers were measured, and tagged by S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) staff and released back into the water. More than 200 fish were tagged during the pier event on Saturday, and DNR coordinators hope this will be the first of many pier-fishing events that partners with the recreational community to garner more information about these important species.
"As part of this project’s goal to learn more about population dynamics, migration behaviors and spawning locations, DNR is hopeful that the cooperative work with recreational anglers will provide information about these species of fish," said Jason Powers, coordinator of DNR’s Cooperative Research Program. Many of these fish are in the Sciaenid species, which are abundant along the East Coast and a part of a fishery in which those caught are historically retained for consumption. Although some studies have been conducted on these species of fish, to date they have been relatively small in scale and inconclusive. The pier-tagging event can help improve DNR’s knowledge and scientific understanding about these popular fish.
"The tagging event would not have been possible without assistance and interest from recreational anglers and the participating piers,” Powers said. "We were also grateful for this opportunity to host the fish tagging event because it allowed us to connect with the angling public in a fun and educational way." Anglers competed to earn prize money for each fish caught, tagged and released, which was good towards purchases at each respective pier’s bait and tackle shop. In addition, the top five participants that tagged the most fish will receive gift cards to local sporting goods retailers.
The top taggers at Springmaid Beach Pier were: First place with 20 fish, Tracy McClain;
Second place with 17 fish, Justin Crenshaw; and a three-way tie for Third place with 11 fish, Mikayla McGriff, Theresa Martin and Bud Mark. The top taggers at Apache Oceanfront Pier were: First place with 10 fish, Richard Lawrence; a two-way tie for Second with nine fish, Calvin Smith and Steve Miller; and a two-way tie for Third place with seven fish were Cheryl-Christy McCormick and Loyd Floyd.
Anglers are reminded if a tagged fish is caught, to record the tag number, species, total length of fish, date and location of the recapture, and report the information to the DNR. If an angler plans to re-release the fish, they are reminded to leave the tag in place. Information that otherwise would not be obtained by biologists alone is reported to the DNR by cooperating anglers through the tagging number hotline. Anglers can call toll free 1-888-TAGS-4SC (1-888-824-7472) to report a tagged fish. Information may also be mailed to DNR, Marine Game Fish Tagging Program, PO Box 12559, Charleston, SC, 29422-2559.
DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.