Scientists, anglers, guides and many of the industry’s leading companies came together to collaborate on the conservation of bonefish, tarpon and permit at the sixth Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s International Science Symposium and Flats Expo.
The weekend culminated with an Awards Banquet, hosted by tarpon fishing legend Andy Mill, and honoured BTT founders, Tom Davidson and Russ Fisher, as well as Dorsey Television, creators of Buccaneers & Bones.
The BTT’s collaborative approach was evident throughout the symposium, which highlighted progress being made in multiple locations, including the Florida Keys, Bahamas and Belize. Three key themes emerged: connectivity, focused habitat conservation and education.
While the BTT is still awaiting the bonefish genetics results, the symposium was told that bonefish populations are likely to be connected to a high degree. After bonefish spawn, their larvae mix is found linked to many different fisheries. Cuba and the Bahamas are connected in this way and the Florida Keys probably get bonefish larvae from a number of places – from Southwest Cuba to Belize and Mexico.
The BTT added: “We also learned how well habitat conservation efforts in the Bahamas are going – not only with the national parks BTT helped in establishing, but the plans for more parks in the near future—and how education is essential. “In all places represented – from Florida to Mexico, Belize to Cuba, Bahamas to Nicaragua – presenters and panelists shared the importance of education, whether catch and release practices for guides and anglers or classroom lessons and field trips for school children.”