■ STAFF REPORT
It’s midnight. Do you know where your tarpon is?
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is asking the help of guides and anglers during the week of August 14 through 19. Their goal is to put acoustic tags in as many Charlotte Harbor tarpon as they can.
BTT will be tagging with the latest technology in acoustic telemetry. Acoustic tags are surgically implanted in the belly of the fish and periodically send out a “ping” that is recorded by underwater listening stations. The stations are downloaded every three months to see what tags were detected. The acoustic tags we are using for this study have a battery life of five to seven years. There is also a collaborative Acoustic Telemetry Network, through which scientists using acoustic telemetry to track animals (such as sharks, rays, turtles) can share data – our receivers detect their tags, and their receivers can detect our tags.
For example, a tarpon tagged by BTT last year in Charlotte Harbor was picked up by a receiver placed by NASA scientists tracking redfish off Cape Canaveral, and again by a receiver from South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The tagging week will kick off with a party (location TBD) on the evening of August 13. The rest of the week, BTT scientists will be in the area on tagging boats waiting on a call. If you are interested in helping tag tarpon (20 lbs. and up), please email JoEllen at firstname.lastname@example.org.