To sustain any fishery, we must protect the habitats that the fish we target use throughout their entire lives. These habitats not only include the places where we fish for the adults, but more importantly, the habitats that support the juveniles and sub-adults.
For permit in the Keys, you can find abundant newborns (1-3 inches) on sandy beaches, and we know the adults and larger sub-adults (greater than 15 inches) live on the flats or on reefs and wrecks. However, fish between 4 and 14 inches are surprisingly rare.
These 4-14 inch fish might be absent because the habitats that those size fish use are becoming degraded, and as a result, there are less of that size. Or, we haven’t yet looked in the right places for them. In either case, we need to identify the habitats that these fish are using so we can restore them if they are unhealthy, or protect them so those permit have a place to grow into adults.
Please report sightings and catches of permit in the 4-14 inch range to Florida Keys Initiative Manager Dr. Ross Boucek, so BTT can get a better understanding of where these fish live and the habitats that support them. Email Dr. Boucek at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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