If you want to catch bonefish in the future, it might be worth your time to contribute to the folks that are making sure the Grey Ghost doesn’t become a literal ghost.
- Bonefish & Tarpon Trust – www.tarbone.org – This is the #1 group out there. You should be a member.
- Cape Eleuthera Institute – These guys are involved in a lot of really good research, located in the Bahamas, run by Bahamians with an eye towards preserving what they have for the future, for all of us. They have a program specific to bonefish.
- University of Miami – Bonefish Research, some really interesting stuff going on at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. They have a page all about bonefish here.
- Fisheries Conservation Foundation – “The FCF strives to ensure that objective, peer-reviewed scientific information about fisheries and aquatic resources reaches policy-makers and the public, so the decisions made about the use of our freshwater and marine ecosystems are logical, informed, and based on the principles of sustainability.”
- Turneffe Atoll Trust – Belize has a bit of a Wild West feel about how development has been done. Flats are being dredged, mangroves being ripped out. Basically, it’s a bad situation. One of the groups working to steer Belize towards a sustainable future is the Turneffe Atoll Trust.
- Troubled Waters – Sharks are vital to the ecosystem where bonefish live. You take the sharks out, bad things are going to happen. Support ending shark tournaments and bans on sharkfin soup (like we did in CA).
Boca Grips + Bonefish = Bad Idea
A story from the Trout Underground references a study done that shows using a boca grip to handle bonefish damages 80% of the fish boca’ed. Sounds like a bad idea.
Tips on C&R
The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust has a great page about best practices when it comes to releasing that beautiful bone you just landed. Find that page here.
From studies focused on C&R bonefishing, there are some things you need to consider. A fish that loses equilibrium (can’t right itself in the water) is 600% more likely to die from predation once being released than the fish that maintains equilibrium. The main factors that contribute to the loss of equilibrium are the amount of air exposure and the amount of handling. All of this is magnified when the water is warmer, as well. So, if you want that fish to survive its encounter with you, is makes good sense to limit your handling of the fish. In some cases this may mean not removing the fish from the water (no out-of-water photograph). The warmer the water and the more predators around (sharks and cudas) the more you may want to think about a zero air-time release.
Hawaiian Bonefish Tagging Program
If you are one of those lucky few who get to fish regularly in Hawaii, you may want to check out the Bonefish Tagging Program. O’io, are found in the Islands, where they grow very large, but lack Bahamian masses. The O’io Tagging Program is a joint effort of the Oceanic Institute and Hawai’i Pacific University. Learn more about the program here.