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April 23, 2008

DNR seeks angler support for cobia research

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is seeking help from anglers targeting cobia to collect DNA samples and to donate racks of fish caught in 2008. 

Research is underway at the Marine Resources Center to improve our understanding of the life history of this important recreational species.  The samples donated to S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provide valuable information about cobia recruitment, age, growth, and habitat use.  In addition, genetic analysis will help characterize the wild population structure and identify fish that originated in the hatchery.  Angler cooperation is a vital aspect of DNR’s stock enhancement efforts. 

Interested anglers are encouraged to contact DNR’s Karl Brenkert for additional information at (843) 953-9838, or BrenkertK@dnr.sc.gov.  Free collection kits may be picked-up and dropped back off once full at:

Participating anglers may also submit their collection kits by mailing to DNR: attn Karl Brenkert, P.O. Box 12559, 217 Ft. Johnson Rd, Charleston, SC 29422.  Cooperating anglers will be sent a reward of a hat or t-shirt for their donations.  

Anglers who wish to participate in the fin clip program will be provided a collection kit, at the locations noted above, that includes 10 small vials and a data sheet with instructions on how to collect the samples.  Fin clips can be taken quickly and easily with no harm done to the fish itself, yet they contain all the DNA necessary to characterize the population.  Because sampled fish can be released alive, this method is ideal for fish under the minimum size limit and for those anglers practicing catch and release.   

Anglers who wish to keep their catch are asked to drop off the filleted rack in one of our collection freezers.  There is no need to take a DNA sample of these fish.  Freezers are located at Edisto Watersports and Tackle on Edisto Island, B&B Seafood at Bennett’s Point, Port Royal Landing Marina in Beaufort, Hilton Head Boathouse on Hilton Head Island and at the DNR’s Waddell Mariculture Center.
 
Racks should be placed inside a garbage bag with an ID card that includes the anglers’ name, the capture location and date, and length and weight of the fish.  Blank ID cards are located inside the freezers and can be filled out at the time of drop off.  From these racks, scientists will be able to utilize the otilith (ear bone) to assess age, gonads to assess sexual maturity, stomach contents to assess feeding habits of cobia, and liver tissue to determine genetic characteristics. 

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.


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