September 10, 2020
On October 6, 2017, BTT’s Belize-Mexico Program Coordinator, Dr. Addiel Perez, tagged a bonefish as part of his study of bonefish movements in the region.
This past June, three years later, BTT received a report from an angler who recaptured that same bonefish in front of the Acocote Inn in Xcalak, just one kilometer from where the bonefish was originally tagged.
This recapture matches Dr. Perez’s research, and research from the Bahamas, that shows that bonefish have a small home range for most of the year. This bonefish benefitted from the protections afforded by the Xcalak Reef National Park. With its home range protected, the scariest part of this bonefish’s life is its annual migration to the pre-spawning aggregation site just across the Belize border in the Bacalar Chico National Park and Protected Area of Belize. Along this migration, the bonefish has to avoid fish traps and navigate around developed coastlines.
BTT’s work in Belize and Mexico has shown the importance of habitat connectivity for the flats fishery. The long distances that bonefish travel to spawn underscore the need to conserve and protect not only the small home ranges, but also pre-spawning sites, as well as the pathways bonefish follow on their long distance migrations across international boundaries.
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