Red drum, commonly referred to as redfish (Sciaenops ocellatus) is a game fish found in Atlantic waters off the coast of Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Northern Mexico. Red drum for RECOVER research are raised at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute.
Why are Red Drum so important?
Red drum are a very popular sport and food fish throughout their range, particularly the Gulf states. Saltwater recreational fishing alone brings in over $10 billion in economic impacts to this region. Therefore, it is vital to understand the full impact oil exposure has had on this species.
Why did RECOVER choose to study the Red Drum?
Red drum were selected for RECOVER because as a coastal species they provide a contrast to the pelagic mahi-mahi. Oil concentrations varied between the two ecosystems and it is not fully understood how each species responded. Red drum live in estuarine environments, far removed from the point source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. They are also very well adapted for the ever changing water quality of their environment. It has therefore been hypothesized that they may be better suited to endure and recover from the effects of oil exposure.