BTT Accomplishments

With so many projects ongoing, and so much left to do, it can be difficult to stop and take measure on what BTT and its collaborators have accomplished in their efforts toward more effective conservation of bonefish, tarpon, and permit. But reviewing accomplishments is a good exercise - it shows that the hard work is paying off, and provides guidance for the future. On this page we share the major accomplishments for BTT in collaboration with scientific colleagues, science and conservation organizations, guides, anglers, and sponsors.

Bonefish

Provided funding to research that determined spawning habitats and seasons in the Bahamas.

  • This information is now being used to identify and protect bonefish spawning locations in the Bahamas.

Provided funding to research that determined that there are three species of bonefish that occur on the flats of the Caribbean. Since different species have different habitat requirements, this information is essential to creating a viable conservation strategy.

  • Albula vulpes (Common Bonefish) is 95% of the fishery
  • Albula garcia (Bigeye Bonefish) is >4% of the fishery
  • Albula sp (not yet named, just discovered) is >1% of the fishery

Determined that Bigeye Bonefish juvenile habitats are sandy beaches, where this species is >96% of juvenile bonefish (Common Bonefish are also present, but only <4%).

Determined that bonefish in the Florida Keys grow two to three times faster than in the Caribbean.

  • A 23” bonefish in the Florida Keys = 6 years old
  • A 23” bonefish in the Caribbean = 16 years old

Provided funding to research and conducted tagging documenting that most bonefish remain in relatively small areas (they are caught within a few miles of where they were tagged), but that some bonefish move >100 miles. Tagging previously occurred in Florida, and is now taking place in the Bahamas, Mexico, Belize, and Cuba. This data is being used to propose special marine management zones in the Bahamas to conserve the fishery and habitats. We expect similar efforts in other locations in the future.

Provided funding to research that determined the best practices for bonefish for catch and release, and produced an educational brochure for anglers, titled Best Practices for Bonefish Catch and Release, to publicize these findings and educate anglers.

Funded a study that determined that the recreational bonefish fishery in The Bahamas is worth >$141 million per year.

Initiated a multi-year, collaborative Bahamas Initiative program to gain important information about bonefish for conservation.

Worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to make bonefish a catch and release species in Florida.

Funded a study to examine whether changes in bonefish prey are affecting the bonefish population and fishery.

Tarpon

Provided funding to satellite tagging research that documented long-distance (inter-state and international) migrations by adult tarpon, but also that some adults appear to remain in smaller home ranges.

Providing funding to research to identify tarpon spawning locations.

Funded research on the effects of catch and release on tarpon, which determined that in general they handle responsible catch and release well.

Based on findings from previously funded research, launched the collaborative Juvenile Tarpon Habitat Initiative to identify, protect, and restore juvenile tarpon habitat.

Worked with the FWC to make tarpon a catch and release species in Florida.

Permit

Determined that sandy, windward beaches are the only nursery habitat for juvenile permit.

Collaborating to conduct the first ever tagging program for permit. This program was initiated in Florida in 2010, and expanded to Belize and Mexico in 2011.

Worked with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to improve regulations for permit, which has resulted in new regulations that took effect in 2011. 

Conducting experimental satellite tagging of permit to track their movements and habitat use.

General

Provided funding to a study finding the economic value of recreational fishing in the Everglades to be $991 million per year.

Provided funding to a study finding the economic value of flats fishing in the Florida Keys to be $460 million per year.

Sponsored and hosted four international science symposia on bonefish, tarpon, and permit research, conservation, and fishing.

Publish an annual magazine (Bonefish & Tarpon Journal) that shares science and conservation information with anglers, guides, managers, and the public.

BTT is part of a groundbreaking and critically acclaimed television fishing series – first titled Pirates of the Flats and now Buccaneers and Bones, which educates anglers about science and conservation. Hosted by celebrities and BTT supporters Tom Brokaw, Michael Keaton, Zach Gilford, Yvon Chouinard, Lefty Kreh, Val Atkinson, Lori-Ann Murphy, Liam Neeson, Flip Pallot. BTT does not spend any money on Buccaneers and Bones and we appreciate the support of the celebrities, Orion Media, and The Outdoor Channel.

BTT uses a combination of scientific data, economic data and additional data gathered through collaborations with other conservation organizations, guides, lodges, sponsors, and resource managers. The allows us to enact better conservation measures for the bonefish, tarpon, and permit fisheries and their habitats.