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School of Ocean Science and Engineering

Center for Fisheries Research and Development

fisheries research and development sharks
The Center for Fisheries Research and Development (CFRD) at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS is part of USM’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering. Our scientists develop and conduct research that informs resource management. We work with state, federal, and community partners to ensure that we understand scientific fishery needs, and focus our research efforts on how we can promote sustainable fisheries and habitats.

Cooperative Sport Fish Tag and Release Program

Research and Development

assessment and monitoringThe CFRD conducts resource surveys in state and federal waters throughout the year. The surveys use multiple gear types (trawl, plankton nets, seines, longlines, etc.) to monitor the diversity and population status of our marine resources. Our surveys assess species ranging from brown shrimp and blue crabs, to spotted seatrout, red snapper and sharks. Some of these surveys have been in place for over 40 years.
tarponCFRD researchers are conducting directed studies on large, high profile species such as sharks, yellowfin tuna and blue marlin. Our work focuses not only on the key life history char­acteristics such as age, growth, reproduction and diet, but also on movement and migratory patterns, through use of satellite tags. Over the years we have successfully tagged and moni­tored billfish, tarpon, cobia, whale sharks, bull sharks, tiger sharks, dusky sharks, silky sharks and hammerhead sharks.

habitat studiesAs habitat associations are extremely important for the success of fish in our waters, our scientists conduct many studies that are focused on particular habitats. In the nearshore waters, red drum and bull sharks are acoustically monitored at bay and island sites, and larval and juvenile tarpon are monitored in coastal estuaries. In the offshore waters, reef fish assemblages (including red snapper) are assessed at both artificial and natural reef habitats in Mississippi-managed reef permit zones. We also conduct extensive research in offshore Gulf waters on the importance of pelagic Sargassum as nursery habitat for many diverse species of fish and invertebrates.