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Help needed for dredging study

Depressions in the bay left from dredge and fill operations serve as warm refuges for trout and other sport fish during the winter.

State biologists want to take a look at these dredge

holes and their impact on the environment.

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program and the Florida Marine Research Institute need anglers' help to determine what species use these dredge holes. Scientists can then assess their value to fish, shrimp, crabs and other marine life.

Results from this research project will determine which, if any, dredge holes should be enlarged to improve fishing, and which should be left alone. The information gathered from anglers will be made part of a database to help provide an assessment on the value of dredge holes.

Anglers wishing to participate will sample one or two dredge holes each year. Anglers must record their fishing efforts, their catch and basic weather data.

To sign up, contact Ed Sherwood, Fisheries Independent Monitoring Program, Florida Marine Research Institute, 100 Eighth Ave. SE, St. Petersburg, Fl 33701. You can also call (727) 896-8626 or e-mail ed.sherwoodfwc.state.fl.us.

TARPON MEETING: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and scientists from FMRI will host a public meeting Monday in St. Petersburg to discuss a tarpon study in Boca Grande Pass.

The study, about to embark on its second year, evaluates the impact of hook-and-release fishing on the survival of one of Florida's top game fish.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at FMRI's Karen A. Steidinger Auditorium. Call Allison McDonald at (727) 896-8626, ext. 2076.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: MarineQuest, FMRI's annual open house, is an adventure into the world of saltwater research.

Children can experience the Japanese fish printing art gyotaku, make marine origami or have their faces painted.

There are plenty of activities for adults. Learn about sharks, manatees or how to become a better snook angler.

MarineQuest is usually in late April, but this year the event was moved to April 5. For more information contact the Institute's Education and Information office.

DEER REGULATIONS: The FWC seeks input from hunters regarding changes to the state's deer management system.

Seven options to maintain the quality of Florida's deer population are under consideration to replace the current deer bag limit of two per day with a minimum of one 5-inch antler.

The options:

1. Change nothing.

2. Establish a bag limit of two deer per season and retain the 5-inch antler requirement.

3. Establish a bag limit of two deer per season and require that one of them have at least one three-point antler and the other have at least one 5-inch antler.

4. Establish a bag limit of three deer per season and retain the 5-inch antler requirement.

5. Establish a bag limit of three deer per season and require that at least one have a three-point antler and the other two have at least one 5-inch antler.

6. Establish in specific counties a limit of two per season and require that both have at least one 3-point antler.

7. Allow landowners to ask the FWC to establish on their land only a limit of two per season and require that both deer have at least one three-point antler.

There are no workshops scheduled in the Tampa Bay area, but hunters can download a survey to express preferences from the FWC Web site, www.floridaconservation.org, or request a survey from a regional office.

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