If you have followed our work on Bonefish, you are aware that The Bahamas is one of the world’s premier flats fishing destinations and that the annual recreational bonefish fishery has been valued at $141 million. You are also aware that in recent years, huge strides have been made in our knowledge of basic bonefish biology , including our ongoing efforts to locate the bonefish pre-spawning and spawning aggregation sites around each of the major island groups. This endeavor involves encircling entire islands with acoustic receivers, tagging a large number of adult bonefish with sonic tags at various places all around the island, and then tracking them to learn where they go to spawn. That type of study takes a large effort that takes over two years, however it delivers extraordinarily important information on how best to conserve The Bahamas bonefish populations.
Our next area of focus in the Bahamas is the island of Eleuthera, a long skinny island averaging only a mile wide and extending over 110 miles in length. The eastern side of the island faces the open deep ocean, while the western side faces the Great Bahama Bank with its extensive sand flats.
Cape Eleuthera is the location of the groundbreaking studies that first reported that bonefish form pre-spawning aggregations along the coast and spawn at night near the deepwater drop-offs. Little is known about bonefish movements throughout the rest of the island. To use island-wide bonefish movements in an effort to locate all of the spawning aggregations in Eleuthera, we have established an acoustic telemetry array (as part of the Ocean Tracking Network) that extends around the entire island. Those data recovered by that array are critical to developing a comprehensive conservation strategy for Bonefish. The Ocean Tracking Network is helping to develop the global infrastructure needed to build a comprehensive dataset on the movement of sea animals in relation to the ocean’s changing physical properties.
Our Bahama Acoustic Tracking Study of bonefish is a part of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN). The telemetry data from our tagged bonefish will be added to the Ocean Tracking Network’s global database. The Ocean Tracking Network is helping to develop the global infrastructure needed to build a comprehensive dataset on the movement of sea animals in relation to the ocean’s changing physical properties.