Tarpon and Bonefish Research Has Come a Long Way

Did you know that tarpon tagged in southern Mexico sometimes find their way to the mouth of the Mississippi? Or that the likely spawning grounds of a large portion of tarpon are in an area that is being considered for offshore drilling near Florida? Or that there are now believed to be three species of bonefish in Atlantic waters, and eight in the Pacific? And that bonefish grow considerably faster in the Florida Keys than in the Bahamas?
I learned that and more last night at the Grand Bahamas’ Pelican Bay Hotel, where Dr. Aaron Adams — author, director of operations of Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited (BTU), and Mote Marine Scientist — spoke to a group brought here by Orvis. Adams has been traveling around the Caribbean for the past dozen years or so collecting data and encouraging research for these two very important gamefish, and his findings are critical to their future protection. It’s pretty cool stuff when you consider that ten years ago there was very little known about tarpon migration patterns and spawning behavior, and that there wasn’t even a baseline for bonefish populations in the Florida Keys.
You can find out a whole lot more about tarpon and bonefish by becoming a member of BTU. Better yet, you can contribute directly to the rather expensive effort to track tarpon with satellite tags — the only way to effectively monitor their movements. It’s research that is sorely needed as the U.S. faces the prospect of more offshore drilling and uncontrolled coastal development.

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