AN URGENT NEED
On the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust web site you will find more information on bonefish, tarpon, and permit than anywhere else. This is in part because one of BTT’s goals is to be the main repository for information on these species. But it’s also by necessity – as the primary advocate for bonefish, tarpon, and permit and the fisheries they support, BTT must have this information (and more) at hand so we can prioritize research and conservation needs.
When we designed the BTT web site, we had to make a decision – whether to include all of the information contained here, or to only share some of it. To be honest, the choice was easy – part of BTT’s mission is education, so we share what we know. But this has led to a greater challenge for us in convincing people that there is a real urgency to finding out more about bonefish, tarpon, and permit biology so we can push for more effective management. We don’t know, for example, where tarpon or bonefish spawn, what habitats are used by juvenile bonefish, how habitat loss is impacting juvenile tarpon, why so few bonefish remain in the Florida Keys.
What we still don’t know, however, shouldn’t overshadow what BTT and collaborating scientists have accomplished in the past 10 years. We now know, for example, that tarpon can migrate long distances, and we are using this information to try to get Federal Gamefish status for tarpon so they will be better protected. We also now have a better understanding of how best to handle bonefish to increase survival after catch and release. And we’re getting close to figuring out where bonefish spawn – information that will be crucial to habitat protections.
The message here is that we’re making good progress, but we still have a long way to go. We already have examples of fisheries lost, and we are being proactive in working to protect fisheries for the future. We don’t want to leave the gate open and let the proverbial horse out of the barn. Once a fishery is lost or damaged, recovery is a mountain of a challenge.So we ask you to be part of the solution and to join The Challenge.