HRI Welcomes Texas Game Wardens and U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi for Fish Identification Workshop

Texas fisheries ID workshop

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) was proud to host a fish identification workshop, bringing together the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Game Wardens. During the workshop, researchers from the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation (CSSC) at HRI shared how to properly identify multiple offshore sportfish species that are often sought out by anglers in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We deeply appreciate the game wardens and the USCG enforcement personnel and we really enjoyed sharing our knowledge to help make their jobs a little easier,” said Jennifer Wetz, Fisheries Program Manager at the CSSC. “Identifying fish in the field can be challenging at times, even for us, so this workshop presented some tips and tricks that fish biologists use. Additionally, discussions about how we can collaborate in the future was a bonus, and we look forward to enhancing our relationship!”

The workshop enabled participants to view examples of multiple species of grouper, jacks, mackerel, sharks, and others, that often look very similar and can be difficult to properly identify. Participants were given multiple resources to aid them in the field, including a waterproof fish identification booklet for use in the field.

“The Coast Guard regards our partnerships across the maritime world very highly,” said Capt. Jason Gunning, USCG Commander, Sector Corpus Christi. “Workshops, such as HRI’s fish identification class, go further in helping us understand the current state of fishery issues. We learned a lot about different species in the Gulf, but the workshop isn’t just about looking at pictures of fish – we learned so much more about the Gulf as a whole.”

Those in attendance even had the opportunity to view multiple shark specimens and identify them based on specific characteristics including head shape, the location of the shark’s dorsal and pectoral fins, coloration, teeth, and more.

“The fisheries workshop highlights a great partnership between the USCG, TPWD, and the Harte Research Institute,” said Captain Ben Baker, Texas Game Wardens. “Each respective agency can assist each other in the ultimate shared goal of conservation and species sustainability.”

HRI is grateful for the work that the U.S. Coast Guard and Texas Game Wardens do to help protect the resources in and around the Gulf of Mexico.