The Florida Keys Initiative

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The Florida Keys are recognized as the birth place of flats fishing, and they remain at the center of the universe for modern flats fishing aficionados. Despite this long history and the continued fervor of flats anglers in pursuit of bonefish, tarpon, and permit, we find ourselves fighting for the health of the flats that have provided so much to so many for so long. The multi-year Florida Keys Initiative will engage in research, conservation, and education to protect and restore these valuable fisheries, their history and culture.

Although still one of the world’s top destinations for flats fishing, the habitats and fisheries of the Keys are not being cared for as they should. Water flowing from the Florida Everglades, for example, is highly altered: it contains a slew of nutrients and contaminants; when, where, and how much fresh water flows from the Everglades is greatly altered from its natural pattern. These changes, in turn, impact the habitats of the Florida Keys, which then affect the fisheries. These same threats affect fisheries around the United States, indeed around the world, but the importance of the Keys to the world of flats fishing makes this an especially important fight to take on. Other threats to the fisheries are also of concern.


  1. Determine potential causes for declines in bonefish population size, especially in the Upper Keys, and enact measures to correct the problems and restore the population
  2. Work with guides and anglers to identify and address the top threats to Florida Keys flats habitats and bonefish, tarpon, and permit fisheries
  3. Identify and protect key bonefish, tarpon, and permit habitats
  4. Assist  in the formulation of a fishery conservation plan for Florida Keys bonefish, tarpon, and permit fisheries, and their habitats

Background and Justification

  1. Sufficient information is lacking for bonefish, tarpon, and permit fisheries in the Florida Keys.
  2. Anecdotal information and recent research indicate both long-term and recent declines in flats fish populations in portions of the Florida Keys. There are suspected causes for these declines, but none have been adequately addressed.
  3. This Initiative is a multi-year effort that will involve participation by guides, anglers, conservation partners, and research collaborators to identify and address threats to the Florida Keys flats fisheries.


Please email if you would like to donate to this initiative or become a Corporate Sponsor.