Articles, Blog

Keeping Texas Fishing Strong

Waters in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico are
extremely full of life, from turtles and fish down to microscopic plants and animals. It’s really difficult to see in the water
because it’s full of life. We’ve had to come up with different ways
to study fish because you can’t see fish in the water and it’s difficult to track
them. I’m listening to hear the sea-trout calls
right now. So luckily for us with spotted sea trout,
they’re a drum fish and they actually make noises underwater. So then we can use these underwater microphones
or hydrophones to study them and figure out what’s going on. This has been in the water about 3 months. So what we’ve found so far is that these
fish are extremely productive spawning every single day of spawning season. So this is a seatrout beginning the spawning
process When seatrout reproduce or spawn, the male
fish begin making a drumming sound to help bring in the female fish. This research is trying to get at questions
as far as how these fish respond to changes in environmental conditions, how they respond
to these big major storm events such as hurricane Harvey and also how they deal with human
impacts of increased shipping or fishing activities. By going out and listening to when they have
these spawning sounds we can figure out which habitat is most important for them. What we’re able to do is compare where we’re
finding spawning areas of sea trout to where these guys go fishing and see how those areas
overlap and make sure we can maintain the sustainability of this fishery. People come from all over the world to fish
for seatrout and other drum fish and here in south Texas the industry brings in about
100 million dollars a year. I’m one of approximately 80 researchers and students
working here at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. Most of the work we do here is focused on
understanding what makes these bays and estuaries tick so these waters can continue
to support the local communities and economy, for generations to come.

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