Reef Fish Extension

Extending Our Reach A Regional Reef Fish Collaborative

RFE Logo

Our Purpose

To build upon the conventional unidirectional flow of information (i.e., from research to management to stakeholder) by working directly with stakeholders on a consistent basis to identify pressing research needs and communicate those needs to the scientific and management community (i.e., from stakeholder to research and management). 

Reversing the conventional flow of information

About this Project

This regional collaborative of Sea Grant fisheries Extension specialists, university scientists, and fisheries managers was awarded $2.4 million by the National Sea Grant Office in September 2021. Our aim is to develop and implement Extension and outreach programming related to reef fish research and management in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Gray triggerfish

Reef fish complex

The Gulf of Mexico reef fish complex is comprised of 31 species of snappers, jacks, tilefishes, groupers, hogfish, and triggerfish.

Found on both artificial and natural structures in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic, these fishes hold high importance in recreational and commercial fisheries.

Learn more about the fishes in the reef fish complex

Surveying anglers at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

Longitudinal surveys

We develop and conduct annual surveys of reef fish stakeholders to identify pressing research needs as well as stakeholder attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs regarding the management of Southeastern U.S. reef fish species.

Reef fish stakeholders discuss common issues

Advisory Panel meetings

The Advisory Panel is composed of commercial and recreational sector stakeholders, state fisheries management representatives, and members of the project team. Annual Advisory Panel meetings serve as an opportunity to initiate dialogue between multiple stakeholder groups regarding topics highlighted in our longitudinal surveys.

Red Snapper

Gulf of Mexico Great Red Snapper Count

This unprecedented project, led by Dr. Greg Stunz of Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, was completed in 2021 and estimated a population size of 118 million red snapper in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico — more than 3 times the estimate from the most recent NOAA assessment.

Learn more about the Gulf of Mexico Great Red Snapper Count

Red snapper

South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count

In 2021, a team of researchers, led by Dr. Will Patterson of the University of Florida, was selected to estimate the abundance of red snapper in the U.S. South Atlantic from North Carolina to south Florida.

Learn more about the South Atlantic Great Red Snapper Count

Alabama research team with greater amberjacks

Greater Amberjack Research Program

In 2021, funding was awarded to a team led by Dr. Sean Powers of the University of South Alabama and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab to estimate the abundance of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico.

Learn more about the Greater Amberjack Research Program

A pair of anglers

County-specific recreational fishing activity reports

Now available for Florida — recreational fishing activity reports for all 72 coastal counties of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina! Similar reports will be produced for Texas, and Louisiana.

See the county-specific recreational fishing activity reports