Anglers will have an easier time reporting tagged marine fish with the new reporting phone number implemented by S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
With the click of a few buttons, anglers can dial 1-888-TAGS-4-SC to report information of a tagged marine fish. The new number is part of the Marine Game Fish Tagging Program, which has been a successful operation of the DNR since 1974. When calling the tagged fish hotline, anglers are reminded to provide their name, date, telephone number (and area code), location of catch, name of species caught, tag number, and total length of the fish. In efforts to conserve and protect popular marine species, anglers are encouraged to catch and release the tagged fish.
For additional information on the Marine Game Fish Tagging Program, anglers should contact DNR fisheries biologist Robert Wiggers, (843) 953-9363, or firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit the Program website at www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/tagfish/tagfish.html.
Jason Powers, coordinator of the Cooperative Fisheries Research Program said, “It is our hope that having a toll free number for fish tag reporting will encourage more anglers to report the tags they find. We also feel that this toll free number will increase the accuracy of the reports. Nowadays more and more anglers carry cell phones with them, and this number will allow for tags to be reported immediately after the fish is caught.”
The Program provides an opportunity for anglers to contribute valuable information to the DNR on popular marine species. The information shared through the fish tag reporting number will assist with fisheries management decisions for popular commercial and recreational species. Anglers have provided biologists with valuable information on movement, seasonality trends, growth rates and general population dynamics of highly sought after game fish. According to Powers, “Tagging studies are an extremely useful tool when conducting fisheries stock assessments. The recapture of a tagged fish serves as the foundation for the information derived from a tagging study, and for this reason, biologists rely heavily on the cooperation from the angling public in reporting tagged fish they encounter.”
Current species that are part of the Marine Game Fish Tagging Program include: Amberjack, Atlantic Bonito, Atlantic Spadefish, Bluefish, Cobia, Dolphin, Black Drum, Red Drum, Grouper, Jack Crevalle, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Pompano, Sailfish, Shark (all species), Sheepshead, Red Snapper, Vermilion Snapper, Longbill Spearfish, Swordfish, Tarpon, Blackfin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Little Tunny, and Wahoo.
Anglers also have an opportunity to participate in the tagging of popular saltwater fish. Instructions, data cards, tags, and a tagging tool are part of a kit that the DNR provides for interested participants.