It’s May, which means that research projects are starting to heat up. Two projects initiated on the Gulf Coast involve tagged seafood and money.

Blue Crab Tags – That’s right. Nicholls State University Assistant Professor Zack Darnell is studying the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) in the Gulf of Mexico. He and his team want to better understand their movements, connectivity, and mortality. They are tagging adult female blue crabs in all five Gulf Coast states, both within estuaries and offshore.

If you catch a tagged blue crab, Dr. Darnell wants some basic information. Record the tag number, the date you caught it, and the location where it was found. They also want to know whether or not the crab was carrying eggs and if so, to note what color the eggs are (orange, brown, or black).

Participating in the project may also earn you a little extra cash. Each tagged blue crab is worth between $5 and $50. Learn more about this research and how to report a tagged crab on the Nicholls State University website.

Red Snapper Tags – These will earn you a higher dollar; up to $500. Tagged red snapper fish are part of a collaborative study being conducted by Auburn University, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the University of South Alabama, and funded by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division to examine recreational fisheries management in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Scientists are tagging 750 red snappers beginning in May 2016. Each yellow tag is worth a $250 reward, and 250 of those fish will have two tags worth a total of $500.

Dr. Marcus Drymon is leading this first time effort. Red snapper is popular, delicious, and often controversial. He hopes to learn more about recreational fishing mortality. To get more information on this program read here.