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6th International Science Symposium

November 10, 2017 - 9:00am to November 11, 2017 - 10:00pm

Symposium Overview

Don't miss the greatest gathering of flats fishing we can fit under one roof!

Sixth International Bonefish & Tarpon Symposium 
November 10-11, 2017

Please join us for the premier flats fishing event in the world! In our sixth foray into this gathering, things have continued to get bigger and better. In addition to all of the things that we have brought you in previous years, we are also offering BTT's first "Flats Expo" for those who wish to see some of the newest innovations on the commercial side of the sport.

As always, we will continue to have the top scientists in the flats world share their latest results on why the fish do what they do. Also top anglers and guides share their time-tested techniques for catching these iconic gamefish of the flats. Join us for two full days of fascinating presentations by the world's top tarpon, bonefish, and permit biologists mixed with enjoyable fishing and casting clinics taught by some of the world's top anglers and instructors including Andy Mill.  

Science and Conservation
The main scientific sessions will take place in a state of the art auditorium at the Bonaventure Resort. These sessions will provide a venue for presentations and Q&A about the latest research of bonefish, tarpon, permit, and the fisheries. Various initiative sessions will take place to update anglers on BTT's many different projects. These sessions will include presentations specific to the initiatives followed by discussion. 

Expert panel discussions provide a venue for experts to share their fishing strategies with attendees, share their thoughts about the state of the fishery, and answer questions from audience members. The "Flats Expo" will house tables for invited fly tiers and for sponsors. These tables will be present all day Friday, and Saturday through mid afternoon. There will be multiple fishing-related clinics Friday and Saturday as well.

Evening Activities

Flats Expo: Friday and Saturday
Film and Art Festival:  Friday

Silent Auction and Banquet - Saturday

Planned Sessions:

Andy Mill Tarpon Clinic
Photography Clinic
Adventure Travel Discussion
Light Tackle Techniques for the Flats Clinic
SUP Fishing Clinic
Fly Tying Clinics
Fix Our Water Discussion Panel
Bonefish Expert Discussion Panel
Tarpon Expert Discussion Panel
Permit Expert Discussion Panel
International Expert Discussion Panel
Angling Legends Panel
Art & Film Festival (Friday Evening)
Bonefish Science Session
Permit Science Session
Tarpon Science Session
Bahamas Initiative
Keys Initiative
And More...



Be There. Celebrate the Fish - Support the Science.
Hotel Accommodations: Bonaventure Resort 250 Racquet Club Rd, Weston, FL 33326
Event Committee: Jeff Storm Harkavy, Bill Stroh, Bill Klyn

For more information on becoming an event sponsor, or for lodging information, contact Ashley Siana at:

484-798-5902 or  


BTT has set up a room block at the Bonaventure Resort with a special rate for our event attendees. To reserve your spot, please visit the following link:


Info coming soon...


The International Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Symposium: Bringing internationally recognized marine scientists and resource managers together with experienced anglers to collaborate in conservation.

The 2017 Symposium is being held at the Bonaventure Resort in Weston, FL on November 10 – 11. The Symposium will provide a forum that will:

  • Bring together world-class experts to discuss issues in flats conservation;
  • Share the latest research results;
  • Plan additional research necessary to support evolving conservation needs;
  • Promote discussions among resource managers, flats guides and anglers, and scientists on future directions for science, conservation, and education.


Science and Conservation

The Symposium science and conservation goals are to present the latest research findings, provide synthesis and consensus on appropriate scientific research approaches, and discuss how this information is best applied to fishery management and conservation efforts to build sustainable fisheries for bonefish, tarpon, and permit. To achieve these goals, the Symposium will be comprised of multiple sessions:

Science and Conservation Sessions

Biology and Conservation of the Flats

As a science-based conservation organization, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust conducts and supports science with the goal of applying research results to known and anticipated conservation needs. This session provides a forum for scientists from around the world to present their latest research findings, and to promote discussion about how these findings contribute to conservation. Topics will include species-specific research as well as research focused on habitats, management, social components of the fishery, mapping, and more. The format will be oral presentations and posters.

Florida Keys Initiative

The Florida Keys Initiative is a multi-year, collaborative effort to understand the causes of declines in flats fish populations, particularly bonefish, identify habitat needs of flats species and the status of these habitats, and use this information to improve resource management and design programs to restore these fish populations and their habitats. The goal of this session is to summarize progress to date by sharing research results, and discuss planned research, conservation, and restoration efforts. The format will include oral presentations followed by a moderated discussion.

Bahamas Initiative

The Bahamas Initiative is a collaborative, multi-year program to understand, conserve and protect the bonefish fishery and habitats in The Bahamas. Research findings are being applied to identify bonefish home ranges, spawning locations, spawning migration pathways, and connections between spawning locations and juvenile recruitment locations. This information is being used to prioritize areas for habitat conservation in collaboration with fishing guides, lodge owners, and the Bahamas Government. Considerable work focusing on catch-and-release dynamics, effects of climate change, physiology, and other factors influencing bonefish and the flats is important to education and large-scale conservation efforts. The goal of this session is to share research findings to summarize progress to date, highlight ongoing collaborations, outline plans for moving forward, and discuss progress, threats, and future collaborations. The format will include oral presentations followed by a moderated discussion.


Call for Abstracts:

Both oral presentations and posters will be accepted. When submitting an abstract, please indicate your preference for oral or poster presentation, and preferred Session. Preferences for oral presentations will be accommodated subject to space limitations.

Submitting your abstract: Abstracts must be submitted as a Word document attachment by email to The subject heading should be: BTT Symposium Abstract – (lead author’s last name)

Abstract Deadline = May 15, 2017.  Notice of acceptance or refusal of abstracts will be given by June 15, 2017.

Abstract Format:  Please use the format below. Please use Courier 12pt font (this makes formatting the Symposium Program much easier).

Tarpon Spawning in the Gulf of Mexico and Off the Florida Keys

Jonathan Shenker1 and Mitchell Roffer2

1Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 ( 2Department of Marine and Environmental Systems, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 and Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. 60 Westover Drive, West Melbourne, Florida 32904

Determining where tarpon, Megalops atlanticus spawn and larval transport pathways are critical for evaluating connectivity among regional populations, characterizing temporal/spatial patterns in regional recruitment, and assessing the vulnerability of spawning to major events such as the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. We conducted two ichthyoplankton surveys and accessed the SEAMAP Ichthyoplankton Survey conducted in the Gulf of Mexico since the 1980s. In 2008, larval sampling seaward of Ft. Lauderdale produced larvae that were estimated to have been spawned off the mid-far reaches of the Florida Keys. We identified the 650+ elopomorph larvae collected during the SEAMAP survey to species, and identified 60 as tarpon. Newly hatched tarpon yolk sac fry were found clustered at the edge of the continental shelf just south of the Mississippi River Delta, including the region of the DWH spill. Yolk-sac and early (<10 mm) leptocephali were also found along the edge of the continental shelf of peninsular Florida, over 100 miles from the coastline. Larger (>10 mm) larvae were found further inshore around the periphery of the GOM, apparently on their migration to their coastal nurseries. An ichthyoplankton survey conducted in June 2014 confirmed the Florida pattern: yolk-sac leptocephali were captured 120 miles seaward of Boca Grande Pass. These results indicate that adult tarpon migrate variable distances offshore to the edge of continental shelf to spawn, and that larvae are potentially entrained in currents that enable widespread dispersion from their spawning sites.

Format preference: Oral or Poster


Conservation Panels

International Panel

Although the Florida Keys are recognized as the ‘birth place’ of flats fishing, the flats fishery has become truly international. Anglers travel the world to fish the flats, and the amount of fishing knowledge that has been transferred across borders is amazing. As flats fishing has expanded, so have the challenges and successes in conservation. As we’ve learned over the past 20 years, there is a substantial connection among many locations, whether it is via adult migration or the transport of larvae – actions in one location might have implications in other locations. And we’ve learned that the threats to the flats fishery are nearly universal: habitat loss and degradation, pollution, overfishing, and lack of enforcement.

The goal of the International Panel is to provide a venue for guides and scientists from locations throughout the Caribbean to  share some of their favorite fishing techniques, and share their thoughts about the status of the fishery and conservation challenges and successes.

Fix Our Water

Florida’s flats fishery and other coastal fisheries are suffering from poor water quality and habitat loss due to poor water management practices. Healthy recreational fisheries require healthy habitats, and healthy coastal habitats require healthy, natural freshwater flows. The goal of the Fix Our Water Initiative is to engage recreational anglers and the fishing industry in efforts to expedite revision of Florida’s water management practices, with particular focus on:

Florida Everglades: The epicenter of Florida’s water quality issues is South Florida, where poor water management of the Florida Everglades has resulted in Florida Bay getting too little freshwater, and the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie River getting too much freshwater. The freshwater outflows also have high nutrient and contaminant loads. Large-scale seagrass, oyster, and fish dieoffs have been the result.

Indian River Lagoon: Changes in freshwater flows, too many nutrients, and herbicide and pesticide residues are causing extensive algae blooms, seagrass loss, and fish kills.

Apalachicola: Too much freshwater is being taken from the Apalachicola River, causing too little freshwater to enter the estuary.

Participants to be determined



Expert Fishing Panel Discussions

The goal of the Expert Panels is to create a forum for the exchange of information about fishing for bonefish, tarpon, and permit, and for anglers to benefit from the knowledge of guides and other anglers who spend a considerable amount of time on the water chasing the Big Three. The panels will also be forums for learning about conservation and what anglers, guides, and scientists can do to ensure a positive future for the flats fisheries.

Bonefish Panel – participants to be determined

Tarpon Panel – participants to be determined

Permit Panel – participants to be determined

Become a Sponsor

The 6th International Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Symposium will be the largest and most significant in the history of this special event. Stakeholders from across the world of flats fishing--anglers, guides, industry leaders, government agencies, scientists, outdoor writers, authors and artists--will converge on the Bonaventure Resort and Spa November 10-11, 2017, to attend the premier conference in the sport. The 2017 program, which kicks off BTT's 20th Anniversary, will include presentations on major research findings by BTT along with spin and fly casting clinics, fly tying clinics, panel discussions with top anglers and guides, art and photography, and a special banquet honoring those who have contributed to flats fishery conservation.

Also new this year will be a Flats Fishing Expo, where sponsors will have a bright spotlight to share information about their products and corporate commitment to conservation with the hundreds of participants who will be attending. Space is limited, so please act quickly to reserve your place in the 6th International Symposium!


2017 Symposium Sponsorship