TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Wildlife officials are asking fishermen in northern Florida to collect DNA samples from the tarpon they catch that's 30 inches or longer.
Scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Mote Marine Laboratory use DNA as a way to track tarpon movements in coastal and inshore waters. It also gives scientists information about tarpon's long-term survival.
Anglers can collect a DNA sample by scraping the outer jaw of the tarpon with a small, abrasive sponge. The sponge should be sealed in a pre-labeled vial and sent to the commission's Wildlife Research Institute.
As of Thursday, more than 22,060 samples have been catalogued.
Anglers who want to join the study can get a free DNA sampling kit by emailing TarponGeneticsMyFWC.com or by calling 800-367-4461.