Who Are We?
Who Are We?
The Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation (CSSC) is the first research center in the western Gulf of Mexico dedicated to providing key science-based information that supports sustainable management of the multibillion-dollar recreational fishery that flourishes along the Gulf Coast.
Effective conservation and management of sportfish requires a robust scientific knowledge-base to be most effective. Thus, the mission of the CSSC is to advance knowledge of marine sportfish and promote conservation through science-based fisheries management.
The CSSC is as a hub for scientists interested in marine fisheries research focused on the many challenges that come with maintaining healthy sportfish populations, both inshore and offshore, to ensure the most informed decisions are made when managing and conserving our valuable fisheries and the marine environment they inhabit.
The focus of the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation is to provide scientific data for sustainable management of our marine fisheries and ocean resources to ensure healthy environments. Our research program is diverse but currently focuses on migration patterns of marine life using a variety of state-of-the-art electronic tracking devices; how marine animals interact with their habitats; and the vital role that estuaries and near-shore waters play in sustaining marine populations. Additionally, much of our work also centers of developing techniques for anglers to reduce discard mortality as they enjoy catch-and-release activities.
Some of the CSSC ongoing research programs focus on the roles of apex predators, such as sharks, in Gulf ecosystems; evaluating and enhancing sportfish habitat using artificial reefs; Red Snapper ecology and management; catch-and-release strategies to reduce discard mortality, and variety of project supporting sustainable management of estuarine fishes such as Spotted Seatrout, Red Drum, and many other species.
Established at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in fall 2012, the CSSC goal is to provide the research needed to make informed decisions in the management of fisheries and conservation. The CSSC was originally made possible through a generous $500,000 donation from the Coastal Conservation Association - Texas, a nonprofit organization formed by a small group of Texas fishermen in 1977 to conserve, promote and enhance Texas’ rich coastal fisheries resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. In addition, HRI contributed more than $300,000 to build an offshore research vessel, provide state-of-the-art laboratory space and facilities, and purchase other supporting equipment such as new vehicles. In November 2013, the CSSC was approved by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
Since the formation, the CSSC has expanded rapidly and formed many key partnerships with the general public and private and State/Federal Agencies. This support and growth coupled with HRI’s leadership in fisheries sciences around the Gulf with its unique interdisciplinary research teams has allowed the CSSC and its scientists to become recognized leaders in fisheries conservation and management across the Gulf of Mexico and nationally.