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Inagua Bonefish Genetics Collection Trip

Inagua Genetics Collection

The southern Bahamas is the most sparsely populated region in the country, where little has changed in the way of life for the people who call it home. With such a small population and small anthropogenic footprint, wildlife flourishes on these islands, especially on the southernmost island in the Bahamian archipelago, Inagua.

Earlier this year, Bahamas Initiative Manager, Justin Lewis, traveled to Inagua--the best kept secret in the Bahamas--to study the bonefish population, which little is known about. Over the course of the trip, Justin worked closely with Bahamas National Trust Wardens, Casper Burrows and Henry Nixon. The main purpose of the expedition, which was BTT's first research trip to the southern Bahamas, was to collect genetic samples for BTT’s Bonefish Genetics Program, to help us better understand the connectivity of bonefish populations around The Bahamas, Florida, and greater Caribbean. Despite poor weather conditions early on, the team was still able to collect 336 fin clips from adult bonefish. The team was also able to identify important nursery habitat for juvenile bonefish, foraging grounds, and--to everyone’s surprise--a bonefish spawning migration!

We would like to thank Bahamas National Trust (BNT) for collaborating with BTT on this eye-opening trip to Inagua. BTT will continue to work with BNT on research and conservation efforts around The Bahamas, in an effort to identify key bonefish habitat. (photos: Justin Lewis)