Bjorn’s been a big supporter of Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, and at Andros South he ‘took one for the team’ and helped out with bonefish research. He’s here today to tell us all about it.
Fishing for Science
While out stalking the phantom of the flats, it turns out you can do more than just catch and release. You can fish for science!
Sure, conservation of bonefish may start with good Catch & Release practices, but if you are interested, you may be able to contribute even more. At Andros South there are two avenues available to you to go beyond C&R. One such path is largely guide-dependent and the other is in your court.
Some of the guides at Andros South are very keen on tagging bonefish. The tags are inserted just below the skin and the details (when, where and fish length) are recorded. When that fish is caught again the same information is written down. Tagging tells the scientists at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust all sorts of important information like growth rates and distances traveled. It was from a tag planted in Biscayne Bay and recovered in the Middle Bight of Andros that we now know bonefish sometimes cross the Gulf Stream. All of the sudden we’re not talking about isolated populations, and that has some big implications in terms of conservation.
The day I fished with Andros South guide Norman he wanted to tag every fish we caught. One fish managed to wiggle off the hook before that happened, but every other fish was tagged and may some day be recaptured.
Another bit of science work you can do involves contacting Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and asking for a fin clip kit. Clipping fins is exactly what it sounds like. You get a kit with very easy to follow instructions, a pair of scissors, a tape measure, a piece of paper to record data and vials for the small bits of clipped fins. The fins grow back and the fin matter is analyzed by the scientists at Bonefish & Tarpon Trust to give more information about the genetic diversity of bonefish populations.
You may not need another reason to go bonefishing, but now you can add “I need to fish for science” to the list of possible justifications.