Keys Bonefish Census Wants Participants

Want to have fun and do good things for a very important fishery? Head down to the Florida Keys and spend Tuesday, April 7, 2009 participating in the second annual “bonefish census” conducted by the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (formerly BTU) and the University of Miami. These surveys — which are an entirely volunteer effort — have become critically important in providing data to scientists and in helping lawmakers and regulators decide policy.
Read the letter of invitation from Dr. Jerry Ault in the extended entry.

Guides and Anglers, we need your help! A second Spring Bonefish Population Census is being initiated on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, to complement the annual census that has been conducted in the Fall for the past 6 years. Bonefishing is a multimillion dollar industry in the Florida Keys and virtually all of the fish are released unharmed to fight again. The bonefish census, coordinated by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (formerly BTU) and the University of Miami RSMAS will determine population trends of one of the Keys most important sport fish. This is the only population estimate ever done on bonefish and this information is vital to evaluating changes in the population from year to year!!!
Census results from the fall have indicated a population of just over 320,000 bonefish in the Florida Keys fishery. However, we want to use the Spring census to calibrate our Fall estimates and determine if there is a seasonal component to the bonefish population size estimates. For example, does recruitment of bonefish to the adult stock occur in the spring or are there other factors that will affect the bonefish population estimate?
Our ability to detect differences in the population size from year to year depends on the number of participants in the census. The more participants we have the more robust our estimate of the population size. Please help us with this!!! We also need coverage of the entire fishery. Therefore, we need volunteers from Key Biscayne to the Marquesas. All the information collected during the census will remain confidential and will be only used for scientific research purposes.
If you are able to participate please contact us so we can assign you a zone or zones to fish in. All we ask is that for each location you minimally record the zone, distance poled, and bonefish seen.
Please contact Dr. Jerry Ault at or 305-421-4884 if you can participate. Once we have heard from you we will mail you a census datasheet. However, census datasheets will also be available from Florida Keys Outfitters (305-664-5423) or can be downloaded at
We hope you can help us determine the population size of this very important sports fish.
Dr. Jerry Ault

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