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Released March 1, 2004

MISSISSIPPI RESEARCHERS WIN NATIONAL FISHERIES RESEARCH AWARD

OCEAN SPRINGS -- One of the top fisheries research awards in the nation recently went to The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR).

The award recognized the partnership between the laboratory and the MDMR for their research on sargassum, often referred to as "sargassum weedlines" by anglers. The research focuses on the role of sargassum in the growth and survival of larval and juvenile offshore fish in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The project is providing valuable new knowledge about the importance of this essential habitat in the life cycle of many Gulf fishes, including highly migratory species such as billfish and tuna.

Douglas L. Stang, president of the Fisheries Administrators section of the American Fisheries Society, presented the section's 2003 Sport Fish Restoration Award for Outstanding Project of the Year to the GCRL and the MDMR in February 2004. Jim Franks, GCRL fisheries biologist, and William "Corky" Perret, director of MDMR marine fisheries, accepted the award on behalf of their research project colleagues.

The sargassum study is being funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sportfish Restoration Program through the MDMR. Project scientists are Franks, Read Hendon, Dr. Eric Hoffmayer, Richard Waller, Dr. Bruce Comyns and Mae Blake, GCRL, and Mike Buchanan, MDMR.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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