March 19, 2022
The Florida non-profit Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) has promised $600,000 to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) to fund three years of monitoring at several critical permit spawning locations in the Lower Florida Keys. The research is intended to support a recently created spawning-season closure in that area.
“We can’t overstate the importance of this analysis for fisheries management and how appreciative we are to our partners at Bonefish & Tarpon Trust,” FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said in a BTT statement. “Working together on this important research initiative helps to ensure Florida’s status as the Fishing Capital of the World.”
The primary location for the research is Western Dry Rocks, an important permit-spawning location southwest of Key West. Researchers plan to compare permit recruitment in the closed areas to recruitment where fishing is still allowed, to determine the efficacy of fishing closures as a management tool.
“The monitoring will build on datasets that measured depredation, spawning permit aggregation characteristics, and permit spawning migrations at key spawning sites prior to the closure,” Dr. Ross Boucek, BTT Florida Keys Initiative Manager said. “By studying permit at WDR and comparing the WDR data to information gathered at other permit spawning sites that aren’t protected, we’ll be able to assess the effectiveness of a spawning season closure at WDR as a management tool. This information is essential for FWC to evaluate this management approach.”
Read more about BTT’s announcement here.