September 17, 2012
Boca Grande’s Tarpon Conservation Project wrapped up its satellite tagging effort on Saturday, September 8th. A total of 32 satellite tags have been placed on Charlotte Harbor tarpon over the past three years. Half the tags were placed in the spring in order to locate the tarpons’ offshore spawning grounds. The other half were put on the fish to identify and track their long winter migration routes to southern waters. The purpose of the project is to learn about these important locations so that they can be protected as part of an overall conservation plan.
The satellite tags transmit data each day to overhead satellites. The data includes where the individual fish is located, its depth, water temperature and salinity. To ensure that the data are applied to conservation of the fishery, and not to enable people to target these important locations, the spawning areas will not be shared. The general migration routes are being shared to show how widely the tarpon travel. The migration tracks, however, are publicized at a low resolution to prevent targeting of the tarpon along their routes.
The 2012 fall tagging occurred on September 7th and 8th and involved five fishing boats and two science tagging boats. A total of ten tarpon were tagged; Captain Scott Hughes with anglers Chris Frohlich and Olivia Britto caught and tagged four (two were Olivia’s first ever to the boat.); Captain Rob McCue and his clients caught and tagged 3 tarpon including the largest at 153 pounds; Captain Jamie Allen, Mark Becton and Roger Gibson each caught and tagged one tarpon. Other participating Captains and anglers include Captain Tommy Locke with William Mahaffey, Captain Ron Whitely, Captain Skip Zink with Dusty Sprague and Captain Glen Hubbard with Bob Halstead.
Aaron Adams of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) and Jiangang Lu from University of Miami partnered to provide the tags and the experienced personnel to place the tags on the fish. All tarpon were released in healthy condition after a brief tagging procedure at boat side. The project organizers and BTT thank all participants, supporters and especially the generous donors over the past three years. Funds were raised at the annual Tarpon Raffle/auction Party held each February at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club. Several private contributors were also influential in raising the funds for the tags, which cost approximately $6,000 each.
The next Tarpon Raffle/auction Party will be held on February 22nd at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club. The Inn has been a consistent and generous supporter of the conservation effort. Funds raised at the next Tarpon Party will be directed towards tarpon habitat conservation and another local tarpon project that will soon be announced.
Those interested in supporting the continuing tarpon conservation effort please contact BTT at email@example.com
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