September 8, 2016
The Bahamas is known as one of top destinations in the world to target bonefish, with Andros – the largest of the Bahamian islands – being the most famous of them all for bonefishing. BTT has done extensive work studying bonefish and their habitats in South Andros and Mangrove Cay, and recently decided it was time to begin work in North Andros.
BTT Bahamas Initiative Manager, Justin Lewis along with Shelley Cant, Director of Science and Policy at the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), and Dan Woodside traveled to North Andros to tag and collect genetic samples from bonefish in the Joulter Cays. Over a two-day period working with local guide Elias Griffin of Lowe Sound, the team was quickly into large schools of bonefish and was able to find and capture fish at every location they went to. In total the team was able to tag 587 and fin clip 392 bonefish, a great result for such a quick trip.
On the last day of the trip, Justin and the rest of the team traveled south to Staniard Creek where the local Bahamas National Trust office is located. Justin gave a presentation to the Navigators, an afterschool program run by BNT targeting students in grades 10-12. Justin spoke to the students about the ecology and biology of bonefish, history of bonefishing in the Bahamas, and their importance to the country and its economy.
Andros contains the largest portion of bonefish habitat in the Bahamas, making it particularly important to identify key forage, spawning, and migration pathways to ensure the future of the vast fishery. This coming fall, BTT and BNT will partner up again to continue work in North Andros with guides and students to tag and collect genetic samples, spread awareness about bonefish conservation and learn from local knowledge to improve conservation efforts for bonefish and their habitats not just in Andros, but across the Bahamas.
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