Researchers to track southern flounder mortality

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This May, a team of researchers will begin tagging Southern flounder in the New River, hoping to follow their migratory patterns and learn more about where the fish spend their time. But the meat of the project lies at the end of their life cycle – specifically, learning more about how and why Southern flounder bite the dust.

“We’re tracking mortality in the estuary, both from fishing and natural rates of death,” said Fred Scharf, a fisheries biology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and one of three researchers on the project. “Both of those pieces of information are critical to assess the condition of the stock. For us to know whether or not the stock is doing well, or is overfished, we need to know the rate of removal of fish.”

To track those rates, the four-year project – funded by a $150,000 grant from the state – will incorporate two types of tracking tags. The first, a traditional tag that dangles from the fish, is designed to catch the attention of fishermen who successfully snag Southern flounder. The tag provides contact information and promises the angler a $200 reward if he calls to report the catch.

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Source: Star News Online

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