Snook Recover After 2010 Cold Snap – Tim Grollimund Photography

Snook Recover After 2010 Cold Snap


A Marine Life Series Column about the recovery of snook after a devastating cold spell, and the effectiveness of marine protected areas


"An interesting aspect of the snook population is documented in the telemetry study from the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.  They acoustically tagged 30 snook in the 9-square mile Banana River No-Take Reserve near Kennedy Space Center.  This is one of the oldest no-take reserves in the country. They looked at the movement of snook within protected waters and beyond.

They examined the no-take reserve as a spatial approach to fisheries management, with the export of targeted species over time - spillover - as a primary component of the observation data assembled.  They found that after a year and a half into the study, none of the larger fish that left (spilled over) returned to the reserve.  One was found about 118 miles away by a fisherman, who returned the acoustic transmitter.

On the down side, they found that smaller individuals were less likely to migrate. This had a severe effect during the 2010 cold snap, as movements of tagged fish in the reserve stopped, suggesting they had not survived the cold.  

According to the FWC web site, “The current investigation illustrates how such extreme events can severely deplete the population of a singular no-take reserve. To be effective as fisheries management tools, multiple no-take reserves may need to be spread throughout the range of the focal species.”

All in all, snook demonstrate a great comeback for an iconic species with some protection in place, the positive effect of spillover from protection as a fishery management technique, and the importance of protecting diverse habitats to ensure the transition of juveniles to the adult population."

About the author

Tim Grollimund

Tim is based in Key Largo, Florida. He wrote the scuba diving column for the local newspaper, The Reporter, for over three years, and also served as a Working Group member and Alternate Representative on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. His ebooks are all based on his newspaper columns. Each ebook has a collection of underwater images shot by Tim. The ebooks cover a wide range of marine life species and ocean conservation topics.

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