It was caught on a live crab and tagged in late May in the Lower Florida Keys by BTT scientists from UMass Amherst and Carleton University, and was the second fish ever tagged as part of the program. We just received word from colleagues that their receiver near Port Orange, Florida detected Helios in late June. This relatively small Tagged Tarpon traveled over 400 miles in a month!
This detection is really special because it’s the first time we have been able to actively track fish in this size range—previous satellite tagging efforts funded by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) were limited to tagging fish 80 pounds or larger. A 45-pound fish like Helios is years from becoming sexually mature, which has been considered the size that tarpon start longer distance migrations. It’s also pretty remarkable that it traveled so far in a short period of time.
This underscores the importance of acoustic tagging to provide new insight into tarpon movement and habitat use during different life stages, and will provide information that is critical to BTT’s conservation efforts. Stay tuned for more recaptures and fascinating new insights on these amazing creatures.
BTT’s objective is to protect and enhance critical flats habitats, reverse the decline of flats species, and use research findings to influence policy, educate the fishing community and improve resource management for long-term stewardship. BTT has many ongoing and completed research projects and initiatives that have achieved significant results in our efforts to learn about, protect and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats. Very little was known about the three species when BTT was founded, and scientific results from our efforts are critical to informing fisheries management and educating the public.
BTT has provided funding for and conducted projects that have provided information essential for conservation and led to a number of tangible conservation outcomes.