Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Making Great Strides in Conservation Efforts
One of BTT’s top priorities is to learn enough about the biology of bonefish, tarpon, and permit so that we can focus conservation efforts on the most important aspects of these important gamefish. Which habitats and life stages are most critical? Identifying juvenile habitats, migrations, and adult habitat use are constantly in our crosshairs. Only with this information in hand can we propose effective conservation strategies like habitat protections, which we have long been pursuing in the Bahamas with collaborators Cape Eleuthera Institute, Fisheries Conservation Foundation and Bahamas National Trust.
Identifying spawning locations has long been a top priority for BTT. Experience in other fisheries has shown us that lack of spawning protections often results in fishery declines. After years of collaboration with scientific colleagues, guides, lodges, and anglers, we are making significant headway with bonefish. In 2011, Andy Danylchuk of University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues at Cape Eleuthera Institute documented that bonefish spawn at night in offshore waters. Following up on that research in other locations in the Bahamas, we have now added significantly to our knowledge of spawning – long-distance spawning migrations, pre-spawn staging, and movement offshore to spawn – and have documented amazing numbers of bonefish engaged in this behavior.
The next steps are to work with collaborators in the Bahamas to get these important locations protected and to use this information to identify spawning locations in other places, such as the Florida Keys. Identifying spawning locations in the Florida Keys will be a necessary step as we work to rebuild the Keys bonefish population through our Florida Keys Initiative.
Please share this information and video with all of your fishing friends, and encourage them to join BTT if they are not already members. And please consider increasing your own donation level. The extensive work that went into reaching this point would not have been possible without the support of BTT members, donors, and sponsors. And while we have accomplished a lot, there is still much to do.
The list of collaborators in this effort to identify spawning locations is long, and includes: Cape Eleuthera Institute, Fisheries Conservation Foundation, Bahamas National Trust, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Carleton University, University of Illinois, Florida International University, The Nature Conservancy, Abaco Fly Fishing Guide Association, South Abaco Adventures, H2O Bonefishing, Deep Water Cay Club, North Riding Point, Abaco Lodge, Delphi Club, Blackfly Lodge, and many anglers and independent guides. We thank each and every one of them, and all of our members and friends, for the incredible support. Stay tuned for more to come.
Watch the incredible bonefish spawning footage!
Since 2013, for every new Maverick skiff sold, Maverick donates a portion of the proceeds including a one year membership to BTT for the skiff’s new owner.