Friday, June 08, 2012

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Opposes Towing Tourney Tarpon

Here's an excerpt from a letter which appeared in today’s Boca Beacon (Boca Grande, Florida) and can also be seen on the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Blog.

Given the overwhelming support for catch and release of tarpon, it is puzzling why anglers would engage in practices that very likely cause high mortality of tarpon after release – the towing of caught tarpon to a weigh station as part of a tournament. Although data on the effects of towing tarpon are scant, the preliminary data that do exist suggest that towed tarpon exhibit much higher levels of physiological stress than do tarpon that are caught and released but not towed. Moreover, since we know that, in general, more handling time equals lower survival for caught and released fish, it makes sense that increasing the handling time by towing and weighing tarpon will likely decrease survival. The responsible and prudent approach is to reduce handling time, and therefore not engage in towing of tarpon prior to release.

The article goes on to describe methods for obtaining the weight of a tarpon using measurements instead of dragging the fish to the nearest scale. It also gives props to responsible Boca Grande Pass fishing guides.

In closing, a tip of the hat to the highly responsible, talented guides of Boca Grande Pass who practice good catch and release, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s ongoing tarpon conservation research, each contributing to a sustainable fishery.


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