Earth & Environment Graduate Seminar Series
This is a past event.
Friday, September 17, 2021 at 3:00pm
MMC, PG 116
11200 SW 8th St
Topic: Saving the Horny Fish: Using Interdisciplinary Science and Conservation to Protect the Florida Keys Spawning Aggregatio
Speaker: Dr. Ross Boucek Florida Keys Initiative Manager Bonefish and Tarpon Trust
About: For some species, spawning aggregation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), in addition to science-based harvest regulations may increase recreational fishery resiliency. Both actions necessitate research to inform regulations, and often forgotten, strong stakeholder engagement. In South Florida, Permit (Trachinotus falcatus) is data poor, and at one time, a virtually unregulated species that makes up a lucrative recreational fishery. In the Florida Keys, stakeholders voiced concerns that the permit fishery was declining. In response to these claims, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) funded or conducted four studies to characterize their spatial ecology and quantify spatial variation in fishing mortality to inform fisheries management. Second, we invested in long-term stakeholder and policy-maker engagement to increase support for regulations needed to reduce perceived declines. As a result of this initiative, we worked with fisheries managers to 1) enact a Special Permit Zone that increased harvest regulations within the Florida Keys, 2) extend the closed harvest season for permit within this zone based on new science suggesting that permit spawning season has shifted earlier in the year, and 3) implemented a no fishing MPA at one of their critical spawning sites to reduce catch and release mortality from shark depredation. The stepwise approach of permit science and advocacy provides a model to follow as the need for more restrictive and comprehensive recreational fishery regulations grows. BTT’s mission is to conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats through research, stewardship, education, and advocacy