Rodeo good for more than cash prizes

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WALA) – The thousands of sea creatures reeled in by anglers competing in the rodeo are not gone to waste.

Instead, they are used to collect important data that helps researchers better understand the sea life in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Crystal Hightower, a research assistant with the University of South Alabama explained.

“So the Alabama deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is one of our greatest sampling opportunities. It takes a lot of dollars, a lot of time and effort to go and collect this many fish at one time,” said Hightower, ‘It would be impossible for us to go out and collect a thousand fish in one day.”

Hightower said one way they study the fish collected is by taking out the ear bone from the fish.

She said the ear bones of the fish are similar to tree stumps.

Tiny rings on the bones indicate the ages of the fish.

Knowing the age of the fish gives scientists important information about the health of fish populations in the Gulf.

Fishermen said they are happy to be able to contribute to the cause.

“It’s great because they get numbers to tell us what they find and we bring it to them and they do the research on it,” said Tyler Sayne, an angler competing in the tournament.

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