Redfish Assessment Raises Red Flag

The long-awaited red drum stock assessment was recently presented to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and initial results show cause for concern.

The spawning potential ratio (SPR) for the southern portion of the stock (Florida, Georgia and South Carolina) and the northern portion (North Carolina and points north) should be at least 30 percent of an unfished stock, but the estimates show the SPRs in both regions are considerably lower, just 17 percent and 9.1 percent respectively.

These estimates, if correct, indicate Atlantic Coast redfish populations could be slipping below a level needed to maintain healthy stocks. Anglers across the region now worry about the status of the red drum popula¬≠tion, but ASMFC commissioners are not yet ready to take action. The stock assessment model used has never been applied to red drum before. It has been problematic since the begin¬≠ning, requiring extensive collaboration between the reviewers and assessment scientists to complete, delaying the stock assessment results for months due to pervasive questions. Continue reading “Redfish Assessment Raises Red Flag”