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The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) organization held an informative presentation for fly fishing guides and interested islanders at the Lions Den in San Pedro Town on Monday, September 30th. The organization presented recent findings on the evaluation of fishing flats in Belize and Mexico, conservation needs in Ambergris Caye and the importance of a sustainable approach to the management of these valuable coastal assets.

The consensus of BTT is that all populations of bonefish, tarpon, and permit in the Caribbean are connected, primarily by larval dispersal. Some of the larvae spawned in one location are transported via sea currents to other locations hundreds, even thousands of miles away, for instance, from Belize to Florida, USA and from the Bahamas to Cuba. BTT has completed its multi-year Bonefish Genetics Study, the results of which provide scientific evidence that the bonefish population across the Caribbean is closely connected. The study, launched in 2014, involved the collection of genetic samples from bonefish (Albula vulpes) in multiple locations spanning the region. With the assistance of anglers, guides, and partners, BTT surpassed its initial target of collecting 5,000 samples, ultimately receiving 13,359 from a diversity of locations, including south Florida and the Keys, the Bahamas, Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. Most samples were from Florida, Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, and Belize. The study’s primary inquiry concerned connections to Florida, with the most intensive analyses addressed in Belize, Mexico, Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas. The samples underwent thorough analysis by BTT’s collaborating scientists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC). Of the 13,359 total samples, they used 11,222 for analysis. They identified 1,588 fish as other species, and 549 samples were too degraded for analysis.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun