To the Editor: In the summer of 2008, local guides and anglers met with the simple goal of identifying science-based projects, which would preserve our tarpon population and avoid collapses similar to those in Port Aransas, Texas and Homasassa. We decided that funding satellite tags was an effective first step.
In February of 2010 we held our first fundraiser hosted by Boca Grande Outfitters at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club. With support from Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the University of Miami, and local anglers, we successfully raised enough money to tag 11 tarpon in 2010. We tagged five fish in the spring to study spawning locations and six fish in the fall to track winter migration routes.
During the February 2011 fundraiser we shared what we learned from tagging that occurred in the previous year. We also released the findings of a Charlotte Harbor angling survey, which found that anglers spent $108 million in 2010 on tarpon fishing.
We once again raised enough funds to purchase 10 tags for 2011. Four tags were placed in the spring despite tough conditions, and we plan on placing six more tags in September and October. The fall tags will be scheduled to pop off in April 2012 with the goal of following migration routes and determining if the fall fish actually return to Boca Grande waters in the spring.
We began this project with the objective of sustaining a five-year tagging study. If we successfully tag and retrieve data from approximately 50 fish, we will have a statistically significant result and we will have acquired factual information about Boca Grande’s tarpon population.
Please save the date of Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 and make plans to attend Bonefish and Tarpon Trust’s Boca Grande fundraiser, to be held at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club.
Aaron Adams, Bonefish Tarpon & Trust
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