Return ‘Em Right aims to increase survival of reef fish that are caught and released in the Gulf of Mexico. Project partners include Florida Sea Grant, University of Florida, Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, NOAA and a coalition of anglers, industry groups, state agencies, universities, government and non-government organizations committed to maintaining healthy fish stocks and fishing access in the Gulf of Mexico.

The project will provide the training and gear to anglers in the Gulf of Mexico to improve the survival of reef fish and benefit the health of the fishery. Other aspects of the project include funding studies to address depredation and release mortality concerns, as well as monitor descending device effectiveness to document improved survival of fish. In total, these efforts will help increase the number of fish that get back down to depth safely to help more fish live, and provide improved fishing experiences for anglers.


Improving reef fish survival by equipping anglers with the knowledge and gear to confidently and successfully release reef fish.


To foster a lasting community of engaged anglers that supports the future health of Gulf of Mexico fisheries.


The initial success of Return ‘Em Right since its launch in May 2022 within the Gulf of Mexico fishing community indicates a strong angler commitment to reducing catch and release mortality. Our ongoing efforts to educate anglers have only just begun, and we see the potential to cultivate a culture in the Gulf of Mexico that prioritizes enhancing fish survival. However, achieving this goal is not feasible without your support. We eagerly anticipate continuing this journey with the angling community in the years ahead.

This 2022 Program Report highlights the achieved milestones and positive outcomes in our mission to enhance reef fish survival. By providing anglers with the knowledge and tools needed for the confident and successful release of reef fish, we are making significant strides toward our goal.


This $30 million project was selected and funded by the Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group as part of the 2019 Open Ocean Restoration Plan. Reef fish species are recreationally, commercially, and ecologically important to the Gulf of Mexico, but were substantially harmed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Trillions of fish larvae were killed. These losses likely translated into millions to billions of fish that would have reached a year old. The spill also negatively impacted juvenile and adult reef fish health and their communities.

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Returnemright.org, 2023 © All Rights Reserved • Contact