July 9, 2019
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, recently tagged 14 tarpon in Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande in three days as part of BTT’s Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Project, sponsored by Maverick Boat Group. These tags transmit acoustic pings to underwater receivers for five years. BTT has receivers strategically placed throughout Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande that will record the time, date and tag number when a tagged fish swims within range. BTT also collaborates with other agencies, universities and organizations that have receivers listening for BTT tarpon throughout the Gulf of Mexico and entire Atlantic coast.
Now in the fourth year of tagging with acoustic transmitters, BTT scientists are already receiving two and three years of data for the same fish. A 50-pound tarpon tagged in Charlotte Harbor in the summer of 2016 migrated around the peninsula and up the east coast of Florida to Cape Canaveral in the fall. It then followed the mullet run up to South Carolina and made its way back to the Shark River in South Florida for the winter. By next summer it was back in Charlotte Harbor and made the same journey in 2017. These 5-year tags allow scientists to study long-term movement patterns and the connectivity within the tarpon population and between state and regional boundaries. So far it’s common to see tarpon move to the same place each year, but not all tarpon are making the same movements as each other. Stay tuned for more Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Project updates.
BTT thanks Maverick Boat Group, as well as Conservation Captain Edward Glorioso (@wickedhooksfishing) for organizing the entire tagging week. BTT also thanks the rest of the guides who helped to make our research possible, including Capt. Chris Slattery (@captchrisslattery), Capt. Mark Crawford (@captcrawford), Capt. Greg DeVault (@captgregd), Capt. Ed Walker (@ed_walker_sportfishing), Capt. Josh Greer (@joshgreerflyfishing), Capt. Jamie Allen (@jamiesoutfishin), Capt. Cameron Schurlknight (@camo_can), Capt. Shane Smetak (@capt_shane_smetak), Capt. Dave Hutcherson (@captdavehutch), Capt. Glenn Pittard and Kevin Lollar.
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