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Bonefish Pre-Spawning Aggregation Site in Andros Recently Discovered

BTT scientists recently traveled to Mangrove Cay, Andros to work with the guides at the Mangrove Cay Club to tag bonefish and look for bonefish pre-spawning aggregation sites. The first day of the trip greeted the team with sunny skies and calm seas, allowing the team to cover a lot of ground and tag over 100 bonefish. The second day was not as successful due to strong winds and rain brought in by a passing cold front. The morning of the third day brought much more promising weather, allowing the team to search further afield for schools of bonefish to tag and look for pre-spawning aggregations. Their efforts did not disappoint. They were able to tag over 100 bonefish and, even more exciting, located and identified a previously unknown bonefish pre-spawning aggregation site! The aggregation was comprised of approximately two thousand adult bonefish, which were exhibiting pre-spawning behavior, like gulping air and porpoising. Bonefish exhibit this behavior during the spawning season, which runs from October-April during the full and new moon phases.

BTT has been working diligently in the Bahamas to identify bonefish pre-spawning aggregation sites and better understand their spawning behavior. To date BTT has identified six pre-spawning aggregation sites around the Bahamas, three of which fall within National Parks. Protection of marine fish spawning sites are vital to the survival of economically and ecologically important species like bonefish. The protection of these sites from fishing pressure and development helps ensure the production of the next generation.

The discovery of a new pre-spawning aggregation site is always exciting, because it gives researchers the opportunity to replicate research done on other islands to help further understand bonefish spawning behavior, with the purpose of helping to conserve and protect the species .

Thank you to the Mangrove Cay Club for its support of this important research.