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Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Presents

The Fifth International

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

Symposium

November 7 - 8, 2014 IGFA Hall of Fame & Museum 300 Gulf Stream Way Dania Beach, FL 33004 USA

www.btt.org


Bonefish and Tarpon Trust thanks the following organizations for sponsoring the 5th International Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Symposium. Grand Sponsors

Symposium Sponsors

Session Sponsors


Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Presents The Fifth International

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

Symposium

Bringing an internationally recognized group of marine scientists and managers together with experienced anglers to collaborate in conservation.

November 7 - 8, 2014 IGFA Hall of Fame & Museum 300 Gulf Stream Way Dania Beach, FL 33004 USA

www.btt.org 2014 BTT Symposium

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Table of Contents

IGFA Map .................................................................................. Page 3 About Bonefish and Tarpon Trust ......................................... Page 4 About the Symposium ............................................................ Page 6 Schedule of Events ................................................................ Page 8 Science Presentations ........................................................... Page 12 Panel and Clinic Schedule ................................................... Page 16 2014 BTT Art & Film Festival ................................................... Page 18 Legends Biographies ............................................................ Page 19 Initiative Sessions ................................................................... Page 20 Conservation Stewardship Awards ....................................... Page 21 Science Abstracts ................................................................... Page 22 Live Auction Items .................................................................. Page 61 Silent Auction Items ................................................................ Page 62

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IGFA Map

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About Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Mission To conserve and enhance global bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and their environments through stewardship, research, education and advocacy.

Goals To serve as a repository for information and knowledge related to the life cycle, behavior and well-being of bonefish, tarpon, and permit. To nurture and enhance bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations and their habitats. Support research on bonefish, tarpon, and permit behavior, life cycles, and fisheries. Provide educational material to the public and anglers. Working with regulatory authorities and the public to ensure that the laws protecting these species are enforced. Interacting with government agencies to assist in the management and regulations related to bonefish, tarpon, and permit.

Symposium Committee Chair: Chris Peterson - Hell’s Bay Boatworks Aaron Adams Jeff Storm Harkavy Mike Duckworth Bill Stroh Luis Menocal Alex Lovett-Woodsum Bill Klyn Andy Mill Steve Stanley

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About Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Board of Directors Tom Davidson, Chairman* Russ Fisher, Vice-Chairman, VP Research* John Hilton, Vice-Chairman of the Board* Matt Connolly, President* Harold Brewer, Managing Director of Bahamas* Bill Stroh, Managing Director of Florida Keys* Chris Dorsey, VP of Communications* Bill Klyn, VP of Membership* Jeff Storm Harkavy, Secretary* Aaron Adams, Director of Operations* Bill Horn Bill Legg* Bert Scherb Bob Branham Chris Peterson David Nichols Gus Hillenbrand Jack Curlett John Turner Ken Wright

Luis Menocal* Mona Brewer Mike Fitzgerald Nelson Sims* Paul Vahldiek Rick Hirsch Rob Hewett* Rodney Barreto Stu Apte

* Executive Committee 2014 BTT Symposium

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About the Symposium This year, the Symposium is being held at the IGFA Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach, FL on November 7th - 8th, 2014. It will bring scientists from around the world together to provide a forum for presenting their latest research. Much has been learned since the first Symposium, held in 2003. The goal is to present the latest findings, provide synthesis and consensus on appropriate scientific research approaches, and develop mechanisms to disseminate the knowledge that helps guide fishery management and conservation efforts to build sustainable fisheries for bonefish, tarpon, and permit. To accomplish this goal, the Symposium’s objectives will focus on a series of comparative synthesis sessions providing historical perspectives on fisheries and their status, facets of early life histories, recruitment, migration, and fishery exploitation effects. The Symposium will bring together world-class experts to discuss issues in the fisheries management, such as scientific knowledge gaps and concerns of professional guides and anglers, and then focus on research necessary to support evolving conservation and management strategies.

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Schedule of Events - Friday, November 7, 2014 Events Hall Start Time

End Time

8:30AM

8:40AM

8:40AM

9:00AM

9:00AM

Talk No.

Talk Title

Presenter

Introductory Remarks

Fisher

1

Juvenile Bonefish in the Bahamas

Haak

9:20AM

2

How do bonefish feeding habits change across life stages?

Murchie

9:20AM

9:40AM

3

What can ice baths and treadmills tell us about bonefish?

Cooke

9:40AM

10:00AM

4

Bonefish in Zapata National Park

Vi単ola

10:00AM

10:20AM

5

Sampling of bonefish on the Zapata Peninsula

Hurtado

10:20AM

10:40AM

10:40AM

11:00AM

6

Linking macroinvertebrates to bonefish in South Eleuthera

Tiedemann

11:00AM

11:20AM

7

Using capture-mark-recapture on bonefish in the Bahamas

Lewis

11:20AM

11:40AM

8

Spawning off the deep end: Deepwater spawning behaviors in bonefish

Jud

11:40AM

12:00PM

9

Bonefish movement in Grand Bahama

Murchie

12:00PM

1:00PM

1:00PM

1:20PM

10

Accelerating bonefish science

Brownscombe

1:20PM

1:40PM

11

There is no place like home: movement of bonefish in Culebra, Puerto Rico

Danylchuk

1:40PM

2:00PM

12

Culebra, Puerto Rico bonefish behavior

Brownscombe

2:00PM

2:20PM

13

Land-use patterns around tidal creeks

Zuckerman

2:20PM

2:40PM

14

Habitat mapping in the Bahamas

Karrow

2:40PM

3:00PM

3:00PM

3:20PM

15

Indo-Pacific Bonefish

Wallace

3:20PM

3:40PM

16

Pacific Island bonefish

Filous

3:40PM

4:00PM

17

Tagging bonefish in Hawaii

Kamikawa

4:00PM

4:20PM

18

Threats to bonefish, tarpon, and permit in Belize

Steinberg

4:20PM

4:40PM

19

Habitat utilization of migratory tarpon

Luo

5:00PM

5:40PM

5:40PM

6:30PM

6:30PM

10:00PM

Break

Lunch

Break

Art & Film Festival 6:30PM - 10:00PM

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Schedule of Events - Friday, November 7, 2014 Gulfstream Room

Lobby

Dolphin Room Marriott Courtyard

Outside

Tarpon Panel Discussion 10:00AM - 12:00PM

Fly Tying, Sponsor Tables 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Distance and Accuracy Fly Casting with Capt. Joe Gonzalez and Capt. Todd Fuller 1:00PM - 2:30PM

Fly Tying with Enrico Puglisi 1:00PM - 2:40PM

BOTE Stand-up Paddleboard Fishing Demonstration 3:00PM - 4:00PM

Pat Ford Photography Clinic 3:00PM - 4:40PM

Theory of Fly Rod Design with Shawn Combs 1:00PM - 2:00PM

Bonefish Panel Discussion 3:00PM - 5:00PM

Andy Mill Tarpon Clinic 5:00PM - 6:30PM

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Schedule of Events - Saturday, November 8, 2014 Events Hall Start Time

End Time

Talk No.

Talk Title

Presenter

8:40AM

9:00AM

20

Project Permit: update and moving forward

Adams

9:00AM

9:20AM

21

Survey data can improve Project Permit

Ahrens

9:20AM

9:40AM

22

Modeling transport of larval permit

Bryan

9:40AM

10:00AM

23

GIS: A tool for conservation, collaboration and management in the flats fishery

Black

10:00AM

10:20AM

Shenker

Break

10:20AM

10:40AM

24

Tarpon spawning in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys

10:40AM

11:00AM

25

Louisiana: Tarpon Sink or Source

Stein

11:00AM

11:20AM

26

Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study in Florida

Guindon

11:20AM

11:40AM

27

Non-lethal Tracking of Atlantic Tarpon

Seeley

11:40AM

12:00PM

28

The Economics of Flats Fishing

Fedler

12:00PM

1:00PM

1:00PM

1:20PM

29

Sea Change: Transformation of Tarpon and Bonefish Vision

Grace

1:20PM

1:40PM

30

The changing vision of tarpon

Kopperud

1:40PM

2:00PM

31

The Dark Side of the Dune: Ocean Prisms and Color Vision of the Silver King

Schweikert

2:00PM

2:20PM

32

Understanding juvenile tarpon habitat use in southwest Florida prior to restoration

Wilson

2:20PM

2:40PM

33

Tarpon leptocephali in Mississippi waters

Franks

2:40PM

3:00PM

34

Preliminary Analysis and Interpretation of the Angler Action Database

Struve

3:00PM

3:20PM

3:20PM

3:40PM

3:40PM

4:00PM

4:00PM

4:20PM

4:20PM

4:40PM

4:40PM

5:30PM

6:00PM

7:30PM

Cocktails & Silent Auction 6:00PM - 7:30PM

7:30PM

10:00PM

Banquet 7:30PM - 10:00PM

Lunch

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Schedule of Events - Saturday, November 8, 2014 Gulfstream Room

Lobby

International Panel Discussion 10:00AM - 12:00PM

Dolphin Room Marriott Courtyard

Outside

Celebrity Casting Clinic with Capt. Steve Huff 10:00AM - 12:00PM

Bahamas Initiative Session 9:00AM - 12:00PM

Fly Tying, Sponsor Tables 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Legends Panel Discussion 1:00PM - 3:00PM

Light Tackle Techniques for the Flats with Capt. C.A. Richardson 1:00PM - 2:30PM

Florida Keys Initiative Session 1:00PM - 4:00PM

Permit Panel Discussion 3:30PM - 5:30PM

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Science Presentations Friday, November 7th, 2014 8:40AM - 9:00AM, Talk #1 Ecology of Juvenile Bonefish in The Bahamas: Implications for Conservation and Management Christopher R. Haak

10:40AM - 11:00AM, Talk #6 Linking Macroinvertebrate Communities to Bonefish in the Mangroves of South Eleuthera John Tiedemann

9:00AM - 9:20AM, Talk #2 How do bonefish feeding habits change across life stages? Karen J. Murchie

11:00AM - 11:20AM, Talk #7 Utilization of capture-mark-recapture of bonefish as a management tool in the Islands of the Bahamas J.P. Lewis

9:20AM - 9:40AM, Talk #3 What can ice baths and treadmills tell us about bonefish Steven Cooke

11:20AM - 11:40AM, Talk #8 Spawning off the deep end: Acoustic tracking reveals deepwater spawning behaviors in bonefish Zachary R. Jud

9:40AM - 10:00AM, Talk #4 Conducta de interacción de las poblaciones de macabí en los ecosistemas de marismas y manglares inundados del Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata Lázaro Viñola Valdés

11:40AM - 12:00PM, Talk #9 Defining adult bonefish movement corridors around Grand Bahama Karen J. Murchie

10:00AM - 10:20AM, Talk #5 Resultados de los muestreos del macabí (Albula spp) muestreados en la plataforma al sur de la Península de Zapata Lic. Andrés Hurtado Consuegra

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Science Presentations Friday, November 7th, 2014 1:00PM - 1:20PM, Talk #10 Accelerating bonefish science – using accelerometer tags to measure bonefish behavior and swimming speeds Jacob W. Brownscombe

3:00PM - 3:20PM, Talk #15 A Preliminary Assessment of Species Distributions, Fishery Composition, and Population Structure in IndoPacific Bonefishes Elizabeth M. Wallace

1:20PM - 1:40PM, Talk #11 There is no place like home: movement patterns of bonefish inhabiting small reef flats in Culebra, Puerto Rico Andy J. Danylchuk

3:20PM - 3:40PM, Talk #16 The Biology and Conservation of Bonefishes in the Pacific Islands Alex Filous

3:40PM - 4:00PM, Talk #17 Tagging bonefish in Hawaii: a tail of two species Keith Kamikawa

1:40PM - 2:00PM, Talk #12 Bonefish behavior and habitat use on a reef flat in Culebra, Puerto Rico Jacob W. Brownscombe

4:00PM - 4:20PM, Talk #18 A Preliminary Assessment of Threats to Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit Populations in Southern Belize Michael Steinberg

2:00PM - 2:20PM, Talk #13 Changes in land-use patterns in and around tidal creeks: implications for bonefish populations Zachary C. Zuckerman

4:20PM - 4:40PM, Talk #19 Ocean habitat utilization by highlymigratory tarpon from satellitetelemetry data J. Luo

2:20PM - 2:40PM, Talk #14 Historic knowledge use in fisheries habitat mapping across the Bahamas Thomas Karrow

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Science Presentations Saturday, November 8th, 2014 8:40AM - 9:00AM, Talk #20 Costa’s Project Permit: update and moving forward Aaron J. Adams

10:20AM - 10:40AM, Talk #24 Tarpon Spawning in the Gulf of Mexico and Off the Florida Keys Jonathan Shenker

9:00AM - 9:20AM, Talk #21 Tagging ghosts. Evaluating the permit tagging program Robert Ahrens

10:40AM - 11:00AM, Talk #25 Louisiana: Tarpon Sink or Source William Stein III

11:00AM - 11:20AM, Talk #26 An overview of the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study in Florida Kathy Guindon

9:20AM - 9:40AM, Talk #22 Modeling transport of larval permit from Dry Tortugas spawning aggregations and other potential regional sources D.R. Bryan

11:20AM - 11:40AM, Talk #27 Non-lethal Tracking of Habitat Use and Trophic Structure in Atlantic Tarpon with Geochemical Proxies in Scales Matthew Seeley

9:40AM - 10:00AM, Talk #23 GIS: A tool for conservation, collaboration and management in the flats fishery Brooke D. Black

11:40AM - 12:00PM, Talk #28 Applying Economic Analysis to Fisheries Conservation Dr. Tony Fedler

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Science Presentations Saturday, November 8th, 2014 1:00PM - 1:20PM, Talk #29 Sea Change: Transformation of Tarpon and Bonefish Vision With Time of Day and Time of Life Michael S. Grace

2:00PM - 2:20PM, Talk #32 Understanding juvenile tarpon habitat use in southwest Florida prior to restoration JoEllen K. Wilson

1:20PM - 1:40PM, Talk #30 Circadian rhythms in the retina of the Atlantic tarpon, Megalops atlanticus Kristin L. Kopperud

2:20PM - 2:40PM, Talk #33 Occurrence of Tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, leptocephali in Mississippi coastal waters James Franks

1:40PM - 2:00PM, Talk #31 The Dark Side of the Dune: Ocean Prisms and Color Vision of the Silver King Lorian Elizabeth Schweikert

2:40PM - 3:00PM, Talk #34 Preliminary Analysis and Interpretation of the Angler Action Databases J. Struve

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Panel and Clinic Schedule Panel Summary The goal of the Expert Panels is to create a forum for the exchange of information about fishing for bonefish, tarpon, and permit, and for anglers to benefit from the knowledge of guides and other anglers who spend a considerable amount of time on the water chasing the Big Three. The panels will also be forums for learning about conservation and what anglers, guides, and scientists can do to ensure a positive future for the flats fisheries.

Tarpon Panel Discussion

International Panel Discussion

Sponsored by Hardy Friday 10:00AM – 12:00PM Moderator: Andy Mill Tim Hoover Bouncer Smith Paul Tejera Tommy Locke Aaron Adams

Sponsored by Belcampo Belize Saturday 10:00AM - 12:00PM Moderator: Luis Menocal Skully Garbutt - Belize Mike Heusner - Belize Lazaro Viñola - Cuba Gilberto Artigas - Cuba Shervin Tate - Bahamas Jason Franklin - Bahamas

Bonefish Panel Discussion Sponsored by ColdPruf Friday 3:00PM - 5:00PM Moderator: Russ Fisher Bob Branham Bill Curtis Joe Gonzalez Paul Tejera Ken Knudsen

Legends Panel Discussion Sponsored by Nautilus Reels Saturday 1:00PM – 3:00PM Moderator: Jeff Storm Harkavy Stu Apte Bill Curtis Andy Mill Mark Sosin Steve Huff Rick Ruoff Bouncer Smith

Permit Panel Discussion Sponsored by Costa Saturday 3:30PM – 5:30PM Moderator: Bill Stroh Mike Holliday Carl Ball Bob Branham Simon Becker Will Benson

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Panel and Clinic Schedule Clinics

Distance and Accuracy Fly Casting with Capt. Joe Gonzalez and Capt. Todd Fuller Sponsored by Hell’s Bay Boatworks Friday 1:00PM- 2:30PM, Outside Pond

Fly Tying with Enrico Puglisi Sponsored by EP Flies Friday 1:00PM- 2:40PM, Gulf Stream Room

Theory of Fly Rod Design with Shawn Combs Sponsored by Orvis Friday 1:00PM- 2:00PM, Marriott Dolphin Room

Stand-Up Paddleboard Fishing Demonstration Sponsored by BOTE Paddleboards Friday 3:00PM- 4:00PM, Outside Pond

Pat Ford Photography Clinic Friday 3:00PM- 4:40PM, Gulf Stream Room

Tarpon Clinic with Andy Mill Sponsored by Hardy Friday 5:00PM- 6:30PM, Gulf Stream Room

Celebrity Casting Clinic with Capt. Steve Huff Saturday 10:00AM- 12:00PM, Outside Lawn

Light Tackle Techniques for the Flats with Capt. CA Richardson Sponsored by Hell’s Bay Boatworks Saturday 1:00PM- 2:30PM, Outside Pond

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2014 BTT Art & Film Festival Friday 6:30PM - 10:00PM

The evening kicks off at 6:30pm with complimentary drinks courtesy of Tito’s Handmade Vodka and SweetWater Brewing Company and features an art gallery that will include some of today’s biggest names in saltwater art and photography. The artists will be displaying and selling their art with portions of the proceeds going directly to BTT. Featured artists include: Jorge Martinez, Eric Estrada, Paul Puckett, Yorgis Morejon, Tim Borski, Cameron Kelley, Jim McMullen, Ed Anderson, Stanley Meltzoff, KC Scott, Dennis Freil, Bernard Barrios, and Nick Shirghio. The festival will also feature film submissions showcasing our favorite inshore flats fish with a chance to win some amazing prizes from Orvis and Costa Sunglasses. The film festival will also feature the world premier of “90 Miles” the latest film offering from the World Angling crew. Finally, what’s an Art and Film Festival without an awesome raffle? After the films we will raffle off a limited edition BOTE Standup Paddle Board as well as some other great swag from our sponsors. Event admission is included in the All Access Pass. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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Legends Stu Apte- A veteran of the Korean war, Stu was a Navy fighter pilot and later had a 30-plus year career with Pan Am Airlines. He began fly fishing in the 1940s and began guiding anglers in the Keys during the 1950s. Giant tarpon became Stu’s biggest obsession and he pioneered and heavily influenced most of the techniques used today for subduing large fish on very light tackle.

Andy Mill- Andy has always been a competitor; from 1972 to 1981 he traveled the world as a member of the U.S. Ski team and competed in two Olympics. Considered by many to be the best tarpon angler alive today, Andy has won The Gold Cup and The Golden Fly Tarpon Tournaments five times each and The Don Hawley Tarpon Tournament once. His book, “A Passion for Tarpon”, which has won multiple awards, is possibly the most concise and complete book written about tarpon angling, and clearly illustrates his passion for saltwater fly fishing.

Bill Curtis- Leaving behind a photography career with Pan Am Airlines, Bill began guiding in Biscayne Bay in 1958. He says in those days it was nothing for an angler to catch 15 bonefish in a day using fly tackle. Among his many contributions to the sport of shallow-water angling are the poling platform and collaboration with the late Bob Hewes on the first modern flats skiff, the Bonefisher.

Mark Sosin- You probably know him best as the host of the television show “Mark Sosin’s Saltwater Journal.” Mark has always been on the forefront of the angling industry. Over 40 years ago he composed the regulations that became the rules by which saltwater fly catches were governed. He has been president of the Outdoor Writer’s Association of America and is an IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductee.

Steve Huff- Steve guides from Everglades City to west of Key West and is one of South Florida’s most highly respected flats fishing guides. He is a powerful and graceful caster, a superb teacher, and has guided anglers to more world records and major tournament wins combined than any other skiff guide in fly-fishing history. He was recently inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame.

Rick Ruoff- Rick was a longtime Florida Keys fishing guide based in Islamorada, Florida and host of “The Orvis Sporting Life” on ESPN2. For the past thirty years he has built a reputation as a first-rate guide by helping pioneer new destinations like bonefishing on Christmas Island and other South-Pacific venues. In 1987 he was Fly Rod and Reel’s Fishing Guide of the Year and is an avid tester and developer of rods, reels, and tackle.

Randolph “Bouncer” Smith- Bouncer has been running boats out of South Florida since he was 19 and has been working on them since he was 15. He has devoted his life to sharing fishing with others, through his radio shows, magazine articles, seminars, and on the water. Capt. Bouncer was recently inducted into IGFA’s “Legendary Captains and Crews” designation. 2014 BTT Symposium

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Initiative Sessions Initiative Session Summary Two Initiative Sessions will take place on Saturday in the Dolphin Room at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel (adjacent to IGFA). These sessions will include presentations specific to the BTT Initiatives, followed by discussion.

The Bahamas Initiative

Sponsored by Deep Water Cay Saturday 9:00AM – 12:00PM Moderator: Justin Lewis The goal of this session is to summarize progress to date, highlight the ongoing collaborations, outline plans for moving forward, and discuss progress, threats, and future collaborations. Topics Covered: • The Bahamas Initiative: Progress and looking forward • The process of creating marine management areas • Top threats and challenges to the bonefish fishery, and how to address them

The Florida Keys Initiative

Sponsored by The Wildlife Foundation of Florida Saturday 1:00PM - 4:00PM Moderator: Brooke Black The goal of this session is to summarize progress to date, ongoing and planned research and conservation efforts, and discuss plans for moving forward. Topics Covered: • The Florida Keys Initiative - a summary • Assessment of Benthic Fauna Communities on Florida Keys’ Shallow Banks as an Indicator of Prey Availability for Bonefish (Albula vulpes) • Long-term patterns in bonefish dynamics in Florida Bay: What do we know and what do we need to know?

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Conservation Stewardship Awards Three Conservation Stewardship awards will be presented at prominent BTT events moving forward. All three will be presented at this year’s symposium:

The Flats Stewardship Award Sponsored by Orvis This award will go to a scientist, angler or conservationist who has gone above and beyond to help preserve our slam species and their habitats.

The Curt Gowdy Media Memorial Award Sponsored by Costa Curt Gowdy, went from being the voice of the Red Sox for 15 seasons to becoming America’s premier sportscaster in the late ’60s and early ’70s. A passionate outdoorsman, he hosted “The American Sportsman” on ABC for two decades. The winner of 13 Emmy Awards, Mr. Gowdy was the first sportscaster to win the prestigious Peabody Award. Mr. Gowdy also is a member of 20 halls of fame, but he was proudest of his membership in the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame, where he also served as Trustee. Curt was a Founding Member of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, where his commitment to fisheries conservation was exemplary. For many years, he proudly emceed the George Bush Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament, the Ocean Reef Backbone Tournament and the Redbone Celebrity Tournament banquets — roles that helped raise substantial donations for BTT. His passion for Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit, along with his dynamic personality, directly led to numerous significant fundraising outcomes that supported the BTT research initiatives Curt so whole heartedly championed. The Curt Gowdy Memorial Media Award will be bestowed upon a literary or media person who, like Curt, has helped to significantly raise awareness for the need to nurture and protect our precious fisheries.

The Lefty Kreh Sportsman of the Year Award Sponsored by Bass Pro Shops Bernard “Lefty” Kreh is admired as one of the pioneers of saltwater fly fishing who helped develop the techniques that have allowed saltwater fly fishing to progress to where it is today. Lefty is a leader in communication and instruction, passing along his enthusiasm for the sport and the fish in countless books, newspaper and magazine articles, videos, television shows, and personal appearances. The Lefty Kreh Sportsman of the Year award will be given every three years to a person who has shown leadership in the fishing industry toward conservation, innovation, promotion, and conservation of bonefish, tarpon, permit, and other coastal gamefish. 2014 BTT Symposium

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Science Abstracts Talk #1 – Friday 8:40AM – 9:00AM Ecology of Juvenile Bonefish in The Bahamas: Implications for Conservation and Management Christopher R. Haak1, Lucas Griffin1, Justin Lewis2, and Andy J. Danylchuk1 1 Intercampus Marine Science Graduate Program, Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA (chaak@eco.umass.edu) 2Environment Department, University of York, York, UK The post-settlement juvenile life-stage of fishes plays a pivotal role in shaping adult populations. Individuals in this phase of ontogeny experience extremely high mortality and often exploit a greatly constrained ecological niche, making them highly sensitive to environmental disturbance. Understanding the ecology of this developmental stage is essential to effective management, yet the basic ecology of juvenile bonefish (Albula vulpes) remains largely unknown. Employing an array of complementary approaches, the goal of this study was to elucidate the habitat requirements and resource ecology of recently settled juvenile bonefish in The Bahamas. The results of beach seine sampling efforts spanning several years indicate that the distribution of A. vulpes juveniles is influenced by environmental factors operating at a range of spatial scales, with exposure to wave energy and benthic microhabitat composition primarily determining relative abundance. Catch composition of seine samples, in conjunction with visual observation by remote video survey, reveals that juvenile bonefish occur in multispecies shoals among large numbers of like-sized mottled mojarras (Eucinostomus lefroyi). Comparative gut content analysis of co-occurring A. vulpes and E. lefroyi displays evidence of trophic niche segregation, possibly indicating a mutualistic relationship between these species. Finally, stable isotope ratios in muscle tissue and otolith material indicate that juvenile bonefish occupying different habitats exhibit distinct isotopic signatures, allowing the retrospective assignment of adults to nursery habitats. Collectively, these findings have important implications for conservation efforts and may offer insights into the mechanisms responsible for recent declines in Florida Keys bonefish populations

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Science Abstracts Talk #2 – Friday 9:00AM - 9:20AM How do bonefish feeding habits change across life stages? Karen J. Murchie1*, Chris Haak2, Michael Power3, Andy J. Danylchuk2, Steven J. Cooke4,5 School of Chemistry, Environmental and Life Sciences, Department of Biology, College of The Bahamas, Grand Bahama Highway, Box F-42766, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas 2Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 160 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA, 010039285 3Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1 4Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1S 5B6 5Institute of Environmental Science, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1S 5B6 1

Traditionally stomach content analyses have been used to characterize the feeding habits of juvenile, sub-adult, and adult bonefish. While this technique can provide some evidence of the fish’s diet, empty stomachs and different prey digestion rates can lead to an underestimate of certain prey items (e.g. soft-bodied prey) and provide only a temporally limited snapshot of the diet. Stable isotope analysis is an alternative method for assessing the feeding ecology of fish population in that it provides a more spatially and temporally integrated measure of diet. In this study, stable isotope analysis was used to determine ontogenetic shifts in diet for bonefish (Albula vulpes) collected around Eleuthera, The Bahamas. A marked shift in isotopic carbon signatures (δ13C) between leptocephali and juveniles reflects a rapid change from pelagic to benthic feeding. Isotopic carbon values reveal that adult bonefish spend most of their time foraging in seagrass habitats, whereas juvenile bonefish exploit a wider variety of habitats to obtain their prey. A significant positive relationship between isotopic nitrogen (δ15N) and body size (fork length) indicates shifts in trophic levels with progressing life stages. Adult bonefish isotopic signatures were also related to whole body energy density (MJ kg-1) values determined from the same fish. A significant positive relationship between adult bonefish energy density and δ13C was found and can be explained by the fact that adult bonefish feeding in more enriched carbon areas, such as seagrass habitats, are likely benefiting from the higher prey densities found in seagrass relative to other habitats. (Continued on next page) 2014 BTT Symposium

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Science Abstracts How do bonefish feeding habits change across life stages? (cont.) No relationship existed between whole body energy density and δ15N. This observation suggests that adult bonefish feeding at lower trophic levels balance foraging against other demands to maintain energetic densities comparable to adult bonefish feeding at higher trophic levels. Data from this study reinforce the importance of healthy seagrass beds as productive foraging grounds for adult bonefish, and point to the fact that early life stages appear to rely on distinct, and yet unknown habitats.

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Science Abstracts Talk #3 – Friday 9:20AM - 9:40AM What can ice baths and treadmills tell us about bonefish? Steven Cooke1, Liane Nowell1, Petra Szekeres1, Jake Brownscombe1, Karen Murchie2, Andy Danylchuk3, Aaron Shultz4, Cory Suski5 Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6 (Steven.Cooke@ carleton.ca) 2Department of Biology, College of The Bahamas, Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, F-42766 3Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 160 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA, 01002 USA 4Cape Eleuthera Institute, P.O. Box EL-26029, Rock Sound, Eleuthera, The Bahamas 5Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801 1

Fact: Temperature rules the lives of fish. Fact: Energy is the currency of life. Given the manifold roles of temperature on the biology of fish and the importance of energy for fish growth, reproduction and survival, it is not surprising that fish biologists expend much effort studying the ecological physiology of fish. Much of what we know about how fish respond to temperature change – especially cold shock – comes from temperate freshwater fish. And similarly, most of what we know about the energetics of fish comes from work on salmonids. Our team has undertaken a variety of studies intended to identify how different aspects of the thermal environment modulate energy use in bonefish. This presentation will cover topics such as cold shock, swimming energetics and thermal biology of free-swimming bonefish.

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Science Abstracts Talk #4 – Friday 9:40AM – 10:00AM Conducta de interacción de las poblaciones de macabí en los ecosistemas de marismas y manglares inundados del Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata Lázaro Viñola Valdés, Lázaro L. Cotayo Cedeño, Gilberto Artigas Alfonzo Parque Nacional de Cienaga de Zapata, Cuba A partir del inicio del uso de las poblaciones de macabí en la pesca deportiva recreativa en los ecosistemas marinos del Parque Nacional Ciénaga de Zapata fue necesario un plan de manejo para lograr su uso sostenible, esto conllevo un grupo de acciones de monitoreo y de evaluación de las poblaciones existentes y tras 16 años se dan en este trabajo evaluaciones conclusiva referentes lo apreciado con su conducta, presencia e interacción en estos ecosistemas a partir de una apreciación que se vincula a la propia ejecución de la actividad, en este también se recogen las experiencias de cómo se creó una organización interna de manejo para la pesca deportiva que minimizara los impactos sustentado en estos conocimientos. Since the outset of recreational sportfishing for bonefish in the marine ecosystems of the National Park of the Ciénega de Zapata, a management plan became necessary to achieve sustainable use, requiring monitoring and the evaluation of existing populations. Over 16 years of monitoring and evaluating the bonefish populations, conclusions can be drawn with respect to their conduct, presence and interaction in these ecosystems. By these means, and from the experience, an organization was created to manage recreational sportfishing in order to minimize its impact on the ecosystem and the resource.

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Science Abstracts Talk #5 – Friday 10:00AM – 10:20AM Resultados de los muestreos del macabí (Albula ssp) muestreados en la plataforma al sur de la Península de Zapata. Lic. Andrés Hurtado Consuegra1, Ing. Lázaro Viñola1, Lázaro Cotayo1, Msc. Zuleiky Álvarez2 Parque Nacional de Cienaga de Zapata, Cuba (informatica@eficz.co.cu) 2Órgano CITMA Ciénaga de Zapata, Cuba 1

El macabi Albula spp ha sido sometido a pesquerías comercial y recreativa en Cuba. El propósito de este trabajo es evaluar diferentes aspectos demográficos y la condición corporal de la especie al sur de la Ciénaga de Zapata occidental, provincia Matanzas. Se capturaron 264 individuos con redes de paso de malla de 30 mm, durante abril del 2009 y en agosto, octubre y noviembre del 2010: 149 machos, 53 hembras y 62 individuos sin identificar el sexo. Se tomó el largo de horquilla (LH), peso total (PT) y se definió la madurez gonadal a cada ejemplar. Se estimó la edad a 30 ejemplares entre 24 a 42 cm de LH. Se determinó la relación potencial LH – PT y se construyó un índice corporal relativo (FCR). El promedio del LH de los peces fue de 35,29 cm ± 7,14 cm y del PT de 0 ,66 kg ± 0,38 kg. No se encontró diferencias significativas entre sexos (p > 0,05). La edad se estimó entre dos a nueve años y el promedio del LH fue de 33,73 ± 6,56. La relación potencial del largo horquilla – peso total mostro un crecimiento alométrico negativo (b = 2,66). El FCR (0,96) indico que la población en general tiene un buen estado de salud. No se encontró diferencias significativas entre clases ni entre sexos (p > 0,05). Se observaron 45 animales con diferentes estadios de madurez gonadal en todos los meses, presentando agosto y abril el menor y mayor número de individuos (1,7 y 41,94 %) respectivamente. This presentation will demonstrate the relationship between length and weight and factor in the condition of over 250 specimens captured by different methods and in different areas in the Biosphere Reserve of the Ciénega de Zapata on the southern coast of Cuba, establishing comparative data. Comparisons will be made between the morphometric variation of age to gender and sexual maturity. This characterization will demonstrate fluctuations over time in the bonefish population, and will be useful in guiding the management of sustainable conservation of this resource. 2014 BTT Symposium

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Science Abstracts Talk #6 – Friday 10:40AM – 11:00AM Linking Macroinvertebrate Communities to Bonefish in the Mangroves of South Eleuthera John Tiedemann and Pedram Daneshgar Monmouth University, Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Program 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ 07764 (jtiedema@monmouth.edu) Mangroves provide critical habitat for a variety of fish and invertebrates and play a number of roles in the lives of associated fishes including providing feeding areas for some species or life stages, providing daytime refugia, or functioning as nursery areas. Bonefish forage in shallow inshore habitats such as sand flats, grass beds, and mangroves. Prey items commonly consumed are comprised of a wide variety of benthic invertebrates including molluscs, crustaceans, and worms. However, despite the importance of this linkage, the composition of macrobenthic communities in mangrove ecosystems in many regions is not well described, including in The Bahamas. In 2013, we initiated a study to document the benthic macroinvertebrates commonly found in mangrove ecosystems in south Eleuthera. Four locations comprised of tidal creeks and subtidal flats dominated by red mangroves and highly utilized by bonefish were selected and sampled at low tides in January and June 2013 and January 2014. Gastropod molluscs were the dominant and most abundant members of the benthic macrofauna collected. Bivalve molluscs were also common; however, their abundances were much lower than gastropods. Crustaceans consisting of brachyuran crabs and mud shrimp and polychaete worms were also present but their densities were low and their distribution patchy. These data suggest that in addition to using the mangroves as refuges during high tides for resting and avoiding predators, the mangroves themselves offer opportunities for bonefish to forage on several available prey items of preference.

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Science Abstracts Talk #7 – Friday 11:00AM – 11:20AM Utilization of capture-mark-recapture of bonefish (Albula vulpes) as a management tool in the Islands of the Bahamas J.P. Lewis1, A.D. Shultz2, B.D. Stewart3, D.P. Philipp4,5,6, Z.R. Jud7, Z.C. Zuckerman8, A.J. Adams9 Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, P.O. Box 644257, Vero Beach, FL 32964 (justin@ bonefishtarpontrust.org) 2The Cape Eleuthera Institute c/o Twinex, 1811 N.W. 51st St., Hanger #42c, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 3Environment Department , University of York , York, United Kingdom 4Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., MC 047, Urbana, IL 61801, United States 5Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820, USA 6Fisheries Conservation Foundation, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820, USA 7Florida International University, Department of Biological Sciences, Marine Sciences Program, 3000 NE 151st Street, North Miami, FL 33181 (zackjud@gmail.com) 8Flats Ecology and Conservation Program, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, c/o Twinex, 1811 N.W. 51st St., Hanger #42c, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 9Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Vero Beach Marine Lab, P.O. Box 644257, Vero Beach, FL 32964 1

The bonefish (Albula vulpes) is an economically important sport fish in the Islands of the Bahamas and throughout its geographical range, but until recently little was known about the species’ movements. Information on bonefish home range, movements, and migrations is essential for effective conservation. From 2009 through 2014, on the islands of Abaco, Andros, Eleuthera, Exuma, and Grand Bahama, in collaboration with fishing guides and recreational anglers, we used mark-recapture to document bonefish movements. Over the course of the study, 9,038 bonefish were tagged, and 512 recaptured. Bonefish have high site fidelity – the majority (71.5%) were recaptured ≤1km from the release site. However, they also exhibited long distance movements that appeared to be associated with spawning migrations because these movements were associated with full and new moons during spawning season (bonefish spawn near new and full moons): (n=16) were recaptured >30 km from release site; (n=4) were recaptured ˃100 km from the release site. Findings from this study are applicable to bonefish conservation as part of the newly proposed fisheries act, and in designating areas for protection in the newly founded MPA network. 2014 BTT Symposium

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Science Abstracts Talk #8 – Friday 11:20AM – 11:40AM Spawning off the deep end: Acoustic tracking reveals deepwater spawning behaviors in bonefish Zachary R. Jud1, Aaron J. Adams2, Andy J. Danylchuk3, Jonathan M. Shenker4 Florida International University, Department of Biological Sciences, Marine Sciences Program, 3000 NE 151st Street, North Miami, FL 33181 (zackjud@gmail. com) 2Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 3University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Environmental Conservation, 160 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA 01003 4Florida Institute of Technology, Department of Biological Sciences, 150 W. University Blvd., Melbourne, FL 32901 1

Understanding how gamefish use different habitats throughout their life cycle is critical to species conservation. Of particular importance is locating and protecting spawning habitats. Since 2010, we have been working to document bonefish spawning sites in Abaco, The Bahamas. Based on reports from local guides, as well as accounts of bonefish spawning from Eleuthera, we identified a potential bonefish spawning site near the southern end of Abaco. Using surgically implanted acoustic tags, we tracked bonefish as they moved between year-round feeding habitats in The Marls (a huge expanse of flats and mangrove cays on the west side of Abaco, home to the island’s primary fishery) and the potential spawning site. These 100+ mile round-trip runs occurred around full and new moons from October through March, coinciding with spawning periods observed in Eleuthera. In 2012, we discovered an aggregation of 10,000-20,000 bonefish at the potential spawning site in Abaco. To confirm that the aggregation was indeed gathering to spawn, we returned to the site in the fall of 2013 to conduct “real-time” active tracking of acoustically tagged bonefish within the potential spawning school. On the night before a full moon, we tracked a school of 10,000+ bonefish as it left a nearshore staging area, and headed ¾ mile offshore to an area where depths exceeded 2,000 feet. Once offshore, the fish descended more than 160 feet, where we believe spawning occurred. Analysis of eggs collected from the fish as they headed offshore confirmed that spawning was imminent. By the next morning, tagged fish had left the spawning area. Knowledge gained from this multiyear collaborative study will help us identify and protect bonefish spawning sites in Florida and the Caribbean. As a result of this project, the Bahamas National Trust is working to create a national park to protect the spawning aggregation site from future development. 2014 BTT Symposium

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Science Abstracts Talk #9 – Friday 11:40AM – 12:00PM Defining adult bonefish (Albula vulpes) movement corridors around Grand Bahama Karen J. Murchie1, Aaron D. Shultz2,3, Jeffrey A. Stein2,4,5, Edward J. Brooks3, Steven J. Cooke6, Julie E. Claussen4,5, David P. Philipp2,4,5 Department of Biology, College of The Bahamas, Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas, F-42766 (karen.murchie@gmail.com) 2Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, 1102 S. Goodwin Ave., MC 047, Urbana, IL 61801, United States 3Flats Ecology and Conservation Program, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Eleuthera, The Bahamas 4Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820, USA 5Fisheries Conservation Foundation, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL 61820, USA 6Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental Science, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1S 5B6 1

Industrial and commercial development on Grand Bahama during the 1960’s and 1970’s resulted in substantial changes to the island’s geography. Road construction combined with the development of a shipyard and harbour altered Hawksbill Creek such that the natural connection between the shallow waters of the Little Bahama Bank on the north to the deep waters of the Northwest Providence Channel on the south was eliminated. These alterations removed a potential migration route for many fish species, including bonefish (Albula spp.). Although this natural migration route was lost, construction of the Grand Lucayan Waterway, a man-made channel bisecting the island 18 km east of Hawksbill Creek may provide an alternative route for bonefish movement. The purpose of this study was to determine contemporary movement corridors of adult bonefish during their spawning season (October to May) in Grand Bahamian waters. This was accomplished by using a passive acoustic telemetry array of 17 receivers and 30 transmitter implanted individuals (545 ± 58 mm total length; mean ± SD), and with field support from h2obonefishing. A total of 26,108 detections were logged from 20 of the tagged adult bonefish. Seven of the 24 fish tagged on the north side of the island used the Grand Lucayan Waterway to directly access waters on the south side of Grand Bahama, whereas no fish tagged on the south side fully traversed the man-made canal, suggesting that the south side of the island, where access to deep waters is closer to shore, contains preferred spawning grounds. (Continued on next page.) 2014 BTT Symposium

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Science Abstracts Defining adult bonefish (Albula vulpes) movement corridors around Grand Bahama (cont.) Two bonefish tagged on the north side of Grand Bahama forayed to the east end of the island and were detected on receivers approximately 88 km from their tagging locations. Additionally, two bonefish tagged on the north side were detected at the west end of the island, with one individual continuing it’s movements along the south side of the island for an approximate straight line distance of 80 km. Use of the canal to migrate to the south side of Grand Bahama typically corresponded to days immediately prior or after new or full moons, suggesting that movements could be related to spawning. To effectively protect the bonefish and the multi-million dollar fishing industry focused on this species, management strategies must include not only protection of pre-spawning/spawning aggregations, but also the corridors between aggregations and feeding grounds.

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Science Abstracts Talk #10 – Friday 1:00PM – 1:20PM Accelerating bonefish science – using accelerometer tags to measure bonefish behavior and swimming speeds Jacob W. Brownscombe1, Chris R. Haak2, Steven J. Cooke1, Andy J. Danylchuk2 Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6 (jakebrownscombe@gmail.com) 2Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 160 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA, 01002 USA 1

How fast can bonefish swim? When are they most active? When do they feed? How does angling affect their behavior? Can post-release predation risk be reduced? These are all important questions that have applications for understanding how bonefish make a living and conserving their populations, yet, to date, attaining this information has been challenging. Using tri-axial accelerometer bio-logger tags, we are now able to examine bonefish behavior at finer scales than ever before imagined. Over the past 3 years we have been using this technology with bonefish in swim tunnels and tidal flats in The Bahamas to answer the above questions. We will discuss how fast bonefish can swim, daily patterns in activity, and feeding behavior. We have also used this technology to examine bonefish swimming capabilities after being caught by anglers to understand how behavioral impairment contributes to post-release predation risk. Further, we tested whether retaining bonefish for a short time period in specialized ‘recovery bags’ improves their swimming capabilities and reduces post-release predation risk. This information is not only of interest to anglers searching for bonefish on the fly, but also has important implications for bonefish conservation.

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Science Abstracts Talk #11 – Friday 1:20PM – 1:40PM There is no place like home: movement patterns of bonefish (Albula vulpes) inhabiting small reef flats in Culebra, Puerto Rico. Andy J. Danylchuk1, Jake W. Brownscombe2, Chris R. Haak1, Jack T. Finn1, and Steven J. Cooke2 Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 160 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA, 01002 USA (danylchuk@eco.umass.edu) 2Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6 1

Most scientific data about the movement patterns of bonefish in the Western Atlantic comes from research conducted in The Bahamas and Florida Keys, regions comprised mostly of large expansive flats and tidal creeks connected to the shoreline. For small islands in the Caribbean, the coastal region is quite different with bonefish being found on isolated reef flats that are disconnected from other shallow, coastal habitats. Since July 2012 we have been using a fixed acoustic receiver array to quantify the movement patterns of bonefish (n=50) residing on small isolated reef flats in Culebra, Puerto Rico. Our array is comprised of receivers deployed broadly as nodes around Culebra and as a fine-scale ‘net’ of receivers spanning a section of reef flat from the forereef to the lagoon zone. Bonefish in Culebra exhibit very high site fidelity, with individuals rarely being detected on receivers other than those on the specific reef flats where there were tagged. Some fish do make a small number (2-6 trips) of short (1-2 day) excursions to other reef flats, but then promptly return to their ‘home flat’. Fine-scale data reveals that bonefish spatially segregate on reef flats, with some individuals using the same relatively small spatial area at the same time each day regardless of tide. Strong site fidelity of bonefish could have considerable implications in the face of habitat disturbance and high fishing mortality, and this knowledge will help resource managers make informed decisions regarding the implementation of management tools, such as net bans and marine protected areas.

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Science Abstracts Talk #12 – Friday 1:40PM – 2:00PM Bonefish behavior and habitat use on a reef flat in Culebra, Puerto Rico Jacob W. Brownscombe1, Chris R. Haak2, Jack T. Finn2, Steven J. Cooke1, Andy J. Danylchuk2 Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6 (jakebrownscombe@gmail.com) 2Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 160 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA, 01002 USA 1

While many studies have examined broad-scale movement patterns of bonefish, their fine-scale movement patterns and detailed habitat use are still poorly understood. For example, we are unaware of environmental drivers of movement onto the flats, how their occupation of specific habitats varies daily or seasonally, or how bonefish actually use these habitats (e.g. refuge, foraging). Since July 2012 we have been tracking 50 bonefish using an overlapping array of fixed-station acoustic telemetry receivers on a reef flat in Culebra, Puerto Rico. This array triangulates the positions of acoustically tagged bonefish to provide near-exact (<10 m2 resolution) locations on a small but diverse reef flat. Further, when bonefish are continuously relocated, behaviors and movement patterns can be identified, which lends clues to how bonefish are using the flat and important foraging locations. Understanding the environmental drivers of bonefish behavior and the function of important habitats is essential for their conservation and management, especially in the face of growing challenges such as habitat destruction and overexploitation.

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Science Abstracts Talk #13 – Friday 2:00PM – 2:20PM Changes in land-use patterns in and around tidal creeks: implications for bonefish populations Zachary C. Zuckerman1, Aaron D. Shultz2, Aaron J. Adams3 Flats Ecology and Conservation Program, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, c/o Twinex, 1811 N.W. 51st St., Hanger #42c, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 (zachzuckerman@ ceibahamas.org) 2The Cape Eleuthera Institute c/o Twinex, 1811 N.W. 51st St., Hanger #42c, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 3Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 1

Ongoing research and conservation efforts in Eleuthera, The Bahamas, have resulted in the tag and release of more than 1,800 bonefish as part of the Bahamas Initiative bonefish tagging program, and the highest bonefish recapture rate for all of The Bahamas (nearly 20 %). In addition, the application of wetland rapid ecological assessments (REAs; a standardized technique for surveying habitats) to tidal creeks and flats has yielded a comprehensive understanding of recent and continuing anthropogenic impacts on South Eleuthera’s bonefish habitat. Here we provide a baseline population estimate for bonefish in South Eleuthera in context of current tidal creek health and historical accounts of bonefish habitat-use prior to extensive development and land-use change (i.e., pre-1960’s). A decrease in critical bonefish habitat due to tidal creek fragmentation and backfilling was identified as a mechanism for the displacement of bonefish from some habitats, with the potential for impact on local bonefish abundance. For The Bahamas, where the bonefish industry contributes more than $140 million to the economy, balancing coastal development (often related to tourism) and marine resources is critical to sustaining a viable fishery. The model implemented here couples the impact of past land-use change with current habitat assessment, thereby identifying areas in critical need of habitat protection to best manage the fishery and industry-related income.

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Science Abstracts Talk #14 – Friday 2:20PM – 2:40PM Historic knowledge use in fisheries habitat mapping across the Bahamas: Ghost Stories, pioneering angling guides, their stories, their knowledge and opportunities for resource management Thomas Karrow Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. W. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. N2L-3G1 Resource management is a complex endeavor often resulting in failures as a result of a host of potential variables including: insufficient or inaccurate data, poor governance, or lack of consultation. Resource managers are increasingly seeking alternative sources of data to bolster efforts to enhance resource sustainability. Consequently, use of local knowledge has become an increasingly important component to successful management. As Usher (2000) states, “It makes good sense to involve people who spend a lot of time on the land in environmental assessment and management, for the obvious reason that they get to see things more often, for longer, and at more different times and places than is normally the case for scientists. These observations, and the resulting hypotheses, can complement observations that contemporary scientists are in a position to make….” This paper provides preliminary results from dissertation research, which aims to generate fisheries habitat maps in the Bahamas through the acquisition and application of local guide knowledge. Local knowledge is recognized to, contribute invaluable information from science and natural resource management, often filling gaps in understanding, which “traditional” science alone is unable to (Bohensky and Maru 2011). Through participant GIS, elder guides were consulted, and their extensive knowledge was accessed in an effort to gain new insights into the flats fisheries in the Bahamas. Collaboration and consultation with locals helps to reduce barriers that exist between academics and the public, promote greater participation, it strengthens decision/making and fosters greater long-term sustainability.

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Science Abstracts Talk #15 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Friday 3:00PM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3:20PM A Preliminary Assessment of Species Distributions, Fishery Composition, and Population Structure in Indo-Pacific Bonefishes Elizabeth M. Wallace Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 8th Ave. SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (walla296@umn.edu) Species characteristics such as geographic distributions and population structure are essential for effective conservation and management. Yet this information is lacking for bonefishes of the Indo-Pacific. A recent IUCN stock assessment resulted in a Red List status of vulnerable for the Pacific species Albula glossodonta due to population declines. The status of other Indo-Pacific species remains uncertain due to data deficiencies. In regions with recreational or commercial fisheries, information is also needed on fishery composition. Multispecies complexes exist in the Tropical Eastern Pacific and Hawaiian islands. However it is not known if multiple sympatric species or a single species may be supporting the fishery in other regions. Morphologically cryptic species complicate our ability to gather this basic information. Using a multi-locus molecular dataset, I provide a preliminary assessment of species ranges, population structure, and fishery composition in the Indo-Pacific.

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Science Abstracts Talk #16 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Friday 3:20PM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3:40PM The Biology and Conservation of Bonefishes (Albula sp.) in the Pacific Islands. Alex Filous1, Mary Donovan1, Keith Kamikawa1, Eva Schemmel1, Alan Friedlander1,2 Fisheries Ecology Research Laboratory, Department of Biology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 (afilous@hawaii.edu) 2Pristine Seas, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC 1

Bonefishes (Albula sp.) are a culturally important fisheries resource in the Pacific Islands, forming a cornerstone of recreational, subsistence, and commercial fisheries across their distribution. In recent years, fly-fishing tourism has emerged as a viable source of sustainable economic enterprise in the Pacific and this shift from traditional resource exploitation has generated a need for science to guide the conservation of its bonefish resources. To this aim, The Fisheries Ecology Research Laboratory at the University of Hawaii has been working to describe the biology of these fishes and their respective fisheries. This presentation will review what we have learned about the biology of bonefishes from Hawaii, Palmyra, Christmas Island, Tarawa, Aitutaki, and French Polynesia, including their species composition, age and growth, diet, reproductive biology, fisheries, and conservation status. Our research indicates that A. glossodonta is the most widely distributed species and its average size (FL) ranges from a maximum of 60.2 cm in Aitutaki to a minimum of 40.7 cm in Tarawa. In Hawaii the maximum recorded age for A. glossodonta is 11 years and 9 for the Hawaiian endemic, A. virgata. Conservation efforts for these species range from limited access fly-fisheries on Palmyra to nearly unregulated fisheries in places like Tarawa, whose historically abundant bonefish populations have declined significantly as a result of habitat degradation and overfishing. This presentation will highlight the diversity of these fishes in the Pacific Islands and identify priorities for future research and conservation in the region.

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Science Abstracts Talk #17 – Friday 3:40PM – 4:00PM Tagging bonefish in Hawaii: a tail of two species Keith Kamikawa1, Alex Filous1, and Alan Friedlander1,2 Fisheries Ecology Research Laboratory, Department of Biology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 2Pristine Seas, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC 1

Hawaii is home to two bonefish species, Albula glossodonta and the endemic A. virgata, both locally known as ‘ō‘io. A. glossodonta has a rounded lower jaw and A. virgata has a pointed lower jaw with a yellow spot under the pectoral fin. They have high recreational, commercial, subsistence, and cultural value, however populations have declined dramatically over the past century. The ‘Ō‘io Tagging Project is a state-wide project that began in 2003 with > 700 anglers currently participating and over 2,500 fish tagged. These numbers continue to increase as the project’s mission reaches more people through magazine articles, public expos, and social media. Recapture data (n = 56) has shown that most individuals move < 1km from their initial release location. Major fishing locations were identified on the south shore and windward side of the island of Oahu. Albula glossodonta were caught primarily on sandy tidal flats, while A. virgata were found mostly in deeper channels. Anglers use an interactive website to submit tagging and recapture data and stay connected with project members. Educational outreach events encourage a greater conservation ethic for bonefish and increase the awareness of the ecological and cultural importance of these species. The project also aims to define basic life history characteristics such as growth, age, reproduction, diet, and movement by collecting samples at local shoreline tournaments and compare this between the two species. Acquiring information on this data deficient fishery through angler-based data fosters collaboration between the fishing community, scientists, and resource managers.

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Science Abstracts Talk #18 – Friday 4:00PM – 4:20PM A Preliminary Assessment of Threats to Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit Populations in Southern Belize. Michael Steinberg New College and Department of Geography, The University of Alabama (mksteinberg@as.ua.edu) The Toledo District in southern Belize is the most remote and least developed district in Belize. Even though the District is remote, there is no shortage of threats to the area’s bonefish, tarpon, permit, and other fisheries resources. While some of these threats resemble those found in other regions such as pollution or overfishing, the District’s fisheries also face unique threats given its proximity to Guatemala. However, local conservation organizations and sport fishing interests have actively pursued policies to better protect and manage fisheries resources, especially bonefish, tarpon, and permit. These efforts have been impressive because unlike northern Belize, especially Ambergris Caye, the tourism industry and associated activities such as sport fishing are in their infancy in southern Belize. Fishing guides and lodge owners have been instrumental in pursuing policies that protect and sustainably manage game fish species. This presentation reviews some of the major threats facing bonefish, tarpon, permit and other sport fishing resources in southern Belize, and the efforts by local groups and individuals to counter these threats. In doing so, this paper provides a “state of the fish” summary for southern Belize.

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Science Abstracts Talk #19 – Friday 4:20PM – 4:40PM Ocean habitat utilization by highly-migratory tarpon from satellite-telemetry data J. Luo1, J.S. Ault1, J.P. Hoolihan2, E. D. Prince2, J.R. Rooker3, and D.R. Bryan1 University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149 USA. (jluo@rsmas.miami.edu) 2NOAANMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Sustainable Fisheries Division. 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149 US. 3Texas A&M University, Department of Marine Biology, 5007 Avenue U, Galveston, TX 77551 USA. 1

Fronts, eddies and estuaries are well known ocean habitats for fishes, but most of the knowledge on utilization is based on extractive fisheries data or ecological theory. There have been few direct empirical observations of the processes inherent to use of these systems. Despite advances in satellite tracking over the past decade, current geolocation methods based on light level and sea surface temperature (SST) have been too coarse to resolve any detailed ocean utilization of key habitats by fishes. In the course of our satellite-tagging research, we discovered that tarpon characteristically followed the 26oC isotherm on their annual migrations in the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern US. Remarkably, this temperature is the lower bound of tropical cyclone generation. New tags have provided near real-time location estimates of these temperature ocean features. We explore a new “habitat metric”, ocean heat content (OHC) or the heat stored in the upper ocean from the depth of the 26oC isotherm to the ocean surface as a substitute for SST. Using this approach, we estimated the OHC for the regional Gulf and Atlantic Ocean using pop-off satellite archival temperature data and ocean models to refine geolocations of individual fish tracks. Our results indicate many of tagged highly-migratory large pelagic fishes displayed an affinity for ocean fronts and eddies, thus providing us with valuable information on their behavioral ecology, spawning and migration secrets, which will provide key information to allow more effective assessment of their population dynamics, and advance sustainable fisheries policy.

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Science Abstracts Talk #20 – Saturday 8:40AM – 9:00AM Costa’s Project Permit: update and moving forward Aaron J. Adams1 and W. Robert Halstead III2 Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 (aaron@ bonefishtarpontrust.org) 2Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 1

Permit, Trachinotus falcatus, are common in coastal waters of the Caribbean, subtropical and tropical western Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico, and are economically and ecologically important throughout their range. Although sufficient information on permit is available to paint a general picture of their life history, details are lacking for effective conservation and management. The state of Florida recently revised fishing regulations for permit, which included creating a Special Permit Zone for the Florida Keys. The SPZ provides stricter regulations, including a spawning season closed to harvest. Similar spatially-focused conservation strategies are in place or proposed in Mexico, Cuba, and Belize. The overall goal of Project Permit is to determine whether the spatial scale of conservation is appropriate for management of the permit fishery. Since 2010, BTT has been working with fishing guides and anglers in a tag-recapture approach to estimate movements. The program has been successful at raising awareness of the need for permit conservation and has engaged guides, anglers, and lodges in the conservation program. The limited recaptures doesn’t allow us to meet the goal of defining overall permit movement patterns, but has provided the first data on permit movements. Next steps for Project Permit include experimental use of mini-satellite tags and acoustic telemetry.

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Science Abstracts Talk #21 – Saturday 9:00AM – 9:20AM Tagging ghosts. Evaluating the permit tagging program. Robert Ahrens1, Zak Slagel1, Sarah Stevens1, and Aaron Adams2 ­ UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Gainesville, FL 32611 2Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 1

Ongoing permit (Trachinotus falcatus) tagging programs in Florida, Mexico, and Belize, have been sponsored by Costa and Sunbrella since 2010. Tagging is being conducted by guides and anglers who have been trained by BTT scientists. To date around 1000 tags are reported released in Florida with a recapture rate of 1.6%. This lower then average recapture rate may be the result of high tag shedding rates that were estimated at 70%. Average displacement distance was 10 miles with a mean days-at-large of 250. Participant indicated a tagging rate of 0.5-0.8 permit per permit trip with the greatest impediment to tagging being concern for the welfare of the permit after capture. One of the tagging program objectives was to understand the movement of permit. Simulation studies indicate reasonable estimates of parameters defining directional and random (diffusive) movement can be achieved with >30 recaptured tags from a given release area (e.g., Biscayne Bay). Seasonal estimates of movement require similar tag recapture numbers but by season. Current tagging and recapture rates suggest approximately 3000 permit directed trips per area are required to achieve the necessary tag return rate to estimate movement for permit.

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Science Abstracts Talk #22 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Saturday 9:20AM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9:40AM Modeling transport of larval permit (Trachinotus falcatus) from Dry Tortugas spawning aggregations and other potential regional sources D.B. McClellan1, J. Luo2, J.S. Ault2, S.G. Smith2, D. Snodgrass1, D.R. Bryan2, and M.F. Larkin3 NOAA Fisheries, SEFSC, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149 USA University of Miami RSMAS, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149 USA 3 NOAA Fisheries, SE Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA 1 2

Spawning aggregations of thousands of large mature permit, a highly sought after game fish with great economic value, were detected annually beginning in June 2004 in the western-most protected areas of Dry Tortugas bank (DRTO) by a collaborative reef fish visual census. Juvenile permit at settlement sizes (<20 mm) have been collected along Florida beaches for many years. In this study we evaluated the potential for regional connectivity of the observed spawning aggregations through a larval transport and recruitment study using HYCOM (hybrid Miami isopycnal coordinate ocean model), an ocean circulation model which simulates realistic regional oceanography of the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and southeastern Atlantic ocean. Seasonal reproductive potential and settling of juvenile permit was evaluated, and empirical settlement data summarized to determine seasonal spawning and settlement periods. New ageing data were obtained to determine post-larval duration and age-and-growth for juvenile permit. Expected transport and fate of larvae spawned in DRTO, Belize and Cuba to adjacent Florida waters were plotted against expected time periods 20-30 days after proposed spawning, typically May through September. This study revealed that unique oceanographic processes provide pathways for both downstream larval transport and juvenile retention, to and from Florida waters. These results strongly suggest that DRTO is a principal source of permit recruits in Florida, these settling along the West Florida shelf, the Florida Keys, and the east coast of Florida.

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Science Abstracts Talk #23 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Saturday 9:40AM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 10:00AM GIS: A tool for conservation, collaboration and management in the flats fishery Brooke D. Black1, Aaron J. Adams2, Chris Bergh3 Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, PO Box 1327, Tavernier, FL 33070 (brooke@ bonefishtarpontrust.org) 2Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 3The Nature Conservancy, Florida Keys Office, 127 Industrial Rd, Suite D, Big Pine Key, FL 33043 1

The Florida Keys is recognized as the birth place of flats fishing, but the fishery has historically been underappreciated by resource managers because it is a catch and release fishery. However, the fishery is increasingly threatened by habitat degradation and user conflicts. Due to these threats and ongoing regulatory revisions in the Florida Keys and South Florida prompted us to work with flats fishing guides and anglers to document spatial fishing effort and habitats so that this information could be included in management revisions. We used a geostatistical approach to create maps depicting fishing effort and habitats, and provided this information to resource managers. Guides and anglers who participated in the mapping project became further engaged by recommending areas for consideration of Pole & Troll, Idle Speed, and Multiple Use zones. This approach can be easily adapted to other fisheries and locations. This collaborative mapping approach engages stakeholders in the management process, uses their knowledge of the resource, and contributes to resource and fisheries conservation.

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Science Abstracts Talk #24 – Saturday 10:20AM – 10:40AM Tarpon Spawning in the Gulf of Mexico and Off the Florida Keys Jonathan Shenker1 and Mitchell Roffer2 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 (shenker@fit.edu) 2Department of Marine and Environmental Systems, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901 and Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc. 60 Westover Drive, West Melbourne, Florida 32904 Where do tarpon spawn? Where are the sources of the larvae that recruit into the coastal nursery habitats throughout Florida and the Gulf of Mexico? The answers to these questions are critical for evaluating connectivity among regional populations, characterizing temporal/spatial patterns in regional recruitment, and assessing the vulnerability of spawning to major events such as the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. To begin answering these questions, we conducted two ichthyoplankton surveys and accessed the SEAMAP Ichthyoplankton Survey conducted in the Gulf of Mexico since the 1980s. In 2008, larval sampling seaward of Ft. Lauderdale produced larvae that were estimated to have been spawned off the mid-far reaches of the Florida Keys. Leptocephalus larvae collected during the intensive SEAMAP survey had been sorted only to the fork-tailed Elopomorph level. We identified the 650+ elopomorph larvae to species, and measured and determined their developmental state. Sixty of the larvae were identified as tarpon. Newly hatched tarpon yolk sac fry were found clustered at the edge of the continental shelf just south of the Mississippi River Delta, including the region of the DWH spill. Yolk-sac and early (<10 mm) leptocephali were also found along the edge of the continental shelf of peninsular Florida, over 100 miles from the coastline. Larger (>10 mm) larvae were found further inshore around the periphery of the GOM, apparently on their migration to their coastal nurseries. An ichthyoplankton survey conducted in June 2014 confirmed the Florida pattern: yolk-sac leptocephali were captured 120 miles seaward of Boca Grande Pass. These results indicate that adult tarpon migrate variable distances offshore to the edge of continental shelf to spawn, and that larvae are potentially entrained in currents that enable widespread dispersion from their spawning sites.

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Science Abstracts Talk #25 – Saturday 10:40AM – 11:00AM Louisiana: Tarpon Sink or Source William Stein III Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148 (wstein1@uno.edu) Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) stocks have been declining in the Gulf of Mexico for at least the last five decades. This decrease has been attributed to overfishing, loss of essential nursery habitat, and other anthropogenic effects. Tarpon fishing in Louisiana has decreased over the last three decades and very few Tarpon appear to be lost as a result of this activity. The dramatic loss of coastal marshes in southeastern Louisiana may be contributing to loss of essential Tarpon nursery habitat. The proliferation of offshore oil production platforms may have changed utilization of coastal habitats by adult and juvenile Tarpon. Over a three year period (June, 2010 – June, 2013) we documented the presence of the three life stages of Tarpon and spawning-capable Tarpon in southeastern Louisiana. Leptocephali, juveniles, and adult Tarpon were plentiful and distributed across a wide geographic area. Leptocephali have been documented in coastal waters, young-of-the-year Tarpon have been found in coastal marshes, and juveniles and adults have been documented year round in nearshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Mild winters are frequent and may allow immature Tarpon to overwinter in coastal marshes. During cold winters, young-of-the-year and juvenile Tarpon may find thermal refugia and over-winter in nearshore waters of the Gulf. Louisiana appears to be a potential source of Tarpon and not a sink.

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Science Abstracts Talk #26 – Saturday 11:00AM – 11:20AM An overview of the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study in Florida Kathy Guindon1, Mike Tringali1, Chris Gardinal1, Samantha Gray1, Carole Neidig2, Thomas King2, and Ben Kurth1 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 8th Avenue SE, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701 (Kathy.Guindon@MyFWC.com 2 Mote Marine Laboratory, Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture,1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236. Phone: 941-388-4441 1

The Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study started in an effort to determine how often a tarpon is caught and released in Florida’s growing and lucrative fishery by using DNA fingerprinting techniques as a tool to identify and track individual tarpon. Previous research on central and southwest tarpon fisheries showed that most tarpon can survive short-term catch-and-release fishing practices. However, fishing pressure is intense during peak season, and tarpon fishing varies in time and space throughout the state. This citizen-scientist program relies on volunteer anglers taking DNA samples from all tarpon they catch. Benefits of this type of study include being able to sample fish statewide and collect information on a species that is difficult to catch in great number. From the pilot study in 2005 through March 2014, the study has received 22,060 samples from volunteers, and 19,700 of those are from tarpon caught by anglers in Florida waters. Samples were returned from Gulf and Atlantic Coasts and the Florida Keys, but regionally the database is depauperate in samples from north Florida. To date, a total of 217 tarpon have been identified as recaptures, a fish caught and genetically sampled more than once. Recapture data will provide insight to the following study objectives: estimating recapture rates, evaluating seasonal and regional movement patterns, determining site fidelity and establishing connectivity of tarpon in Florida waters. Over the long-term we hope to determine if juvenile tarpon sampled within Florida nursery habitats supply the adult fishery.

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Science Abstracts Talk #27 – Saturday 11:20AM – 11:40AM Non-lethal Tracking of Habitat Use and Trophic Structure in Atlantic Tarpon with Geochemical Proxies in Scales Matthew Seeley1, Skye Woodcock1,2, Benjamin Walther1 University of Texas at Austin, Marine Science Institute, 750 Channel View Drive, Port Aransas, TX 78373 (m.seeley@utexas.edu) 2University of Adelaide, Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, South Australia 5005, Australia. 1

Highly migratory Atlantic tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, are euryhaline predators that occupy different habitats throughout ontogeny. In particular, Atlantic tarpon are known to inhabit oligohaline waters, although the frequency and duration of movements across estuarine gradients are generally unknown. A new non-lethal method for reconstructing migrations across estuaries relies on trace element and stable isotope compositions of growth increments in scales. We analyzed scales of Atlantic tarpon collected from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to validate this method using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for trace elements and isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IR-MS) for stable isotope ratios. Results show that scale Ba:Ca, Sr:Ca and δ13C are effective proxies for salinity, while enrichments in δ15N are consistent with known ontogenetic trophic shifts. Continuous life history profiles of scales were obtained via laser ablation transects of scale cross-sections to quantify trace element concentrations from the core (youngest increments) to the edge (oldest increments) of the scale. These results indicate that individual behavior is highly variable, with some but not all fish transiting estuarine gradients into oligohaline waters. Our findings will provide cost effective opportunities to investigate alternative non-lethal methods to monitor fish migrations across estuarine gradients.

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Science Abstracts Talk #28 – Saturday 11:40AM – 12:00PM Applying Economic Analysis to Fisheries Conservation Dr. Tony Fedler Human Dimensions Consulting, Gainesville, FL 32608 (tfedler@gru.net) An angler’s love of bonefish, a scientist’s passion for tarpon, a community’s concern for declining fisheries resources and a government’s desire for economic development are all underpinned by one common factor – economics. Generating funding for scientific research and management, protecting fish species from overexploitation, conserving essential fish habitats, and providing access and promoting fishing activity all require some type of funding to occur. Funding for these activities is often problematic whether at the local, state, country or international level because of competition for public and private resources, competition among agency and organization priorities, and effects of local and global economies. Fisheries conservation programs, in general, are but one small component in the mix of priorities and funding for most governments and agencies. When the focus falls on a single or few species or “essential” habitat, the priority often diminishes accordingly in the face of little to no information to raise concern. However, small segments of the fishing world can sometimes play a significant role in local and regional economies, yet remain relatively unnoticed in the larger scheme of economic concerns. Government agencies, not-for-profit organizations and concerned individuals have begun recognizing the value of economic information in advocating policy and management changes to protect important natural resources. This is particularly true in small nations with abundant aquatic resources. During the past seven years a number of economic impact studies have been commissioned to document the importance of fisheries resources to local and regional economies in order to influence decision making relative to their conservation and sustainability. This presentation summarizes findings from several recent fisheries economic impact studies in the Florida Everglades, Florida Keys, The Bahamas, and Belize to show the value of this type of research in raising public and agency awareness of the value of recreational fisheries and why the importance of sustainable fisheries management and habitat protection and enhancement is integrally related to the health of local economies.

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Science Abstracts Talk #29 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Saturday 1:00PM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1:20PM Sea Change: Transformation of Tarpon and Bonefish Vision With Time of Day and Time of Life. Michael S. Grace1 and Scott M. Taylor2 Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Kellogg Eye Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 1 2

Tarpon and bonefish are part of a larger group of marine fishes known as Elopomorpha, all of which share an unusual larval form known as the leptocephalus, and all undergo dramatic transformation in body form, behavior and habitat as they mature. In concert with these changes, we discovered that form and function of the visual system also change. In the retina, rod cells mediate dim-light vision, and cones bright-light and color vision; we found that tarpon, bonefish and their relatives begin life with rod-dominated or even rod-only retinas, unlike most other teleost fish. As they mature, tarpon and bonefish gradually add cone cells. By adulthood, they gain at least five distinct classes of cones, giving them perhaps the best color vision known in any species of vertebrate animal. Tarpon also develop a reflective tapetum before they reach maturity, which should significantly enhance dim-light vision; bonefish do not. Finally, by maturity, tarpon light-detecting photoreceptor cells begin dramatic movements according to time of day so that light detection capability is maximized under both bright light and dim light conditions. Comparative analyses of different elopomorph species shows that while they all begin life with similar retinas, their developmental trajectories are very different, producing changes in the visual system that parallel changes in habitat and behavior. Limited evidence suggests that these changes are brought about by a combination of genetic pre-programming and environmental influence. These results have important implications for the effects of habitat change on survivability of tarpon, bonefish and their relatives.

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Science Abstracts Talk #30 – Saturday 1:20PM – 1:40PM Circadian rhythms in the retina of Atlantic tarpon, Megalops atlanticus Kristin L. Kopperud, S. M. Taylor, and M. S Grace Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL Biological clocks and the physiological and behavioral rhythms they produce enhance survivability by allowing organisms to anticipate change in their environments. While many processes change in direct response to external influence, most also change over time because of internal timekeeping mechanisms – biological clocks. The cellular machinery and molecular mechanisms of clocks have been intensely studied in people and some lab animals, but we understand very little about how they affect organisms in their natural environments. Further, biological clock operation in lower vertebrates—especially in fish—is extremely complicated, much less straightforward than that in mammals. This research aims to shed insight into these areas by examining clock operation in the Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus), one of the most sought-after game fish on Earth. Tarpon are exceptional models for studying how retinal structure and function adjust to a changing light environment because they undergo particularly dramatic shifts in ecological niche as they mature, accompanied by dramatic alterations in retinal photoreceptor cell type and distribution. Further, there is evidence that rods and cones actually reposition within the retina in response to light availability and/or an internal biological clock (a phenomenon called “retinomotor movement”). The aims of my research are to elucidate the biological rhythms of visual function and to define the roles of endogenous clocks in driving retinomotor movement. This work is ultimately aimed at promoting a better understanding of how changing visual function may support survival of this important species in the face of continuing, rapid coastal development and climate change.

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Science Abstracts Talk #31 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Saturday 1:40PM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2:00PM The Dark Side of the Dune: Ocean Prisms and Color Vision of the Silver King Lorian Elizabeth Schweikert and Michael S. Grace. Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL Unlike air, water separates white light into its many wavelengths (i.e., colors), causing marine habitats to have distinctly colored light environments based on the depth and clarity of the water column. The Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) experiences an exceptional diversity of light environments throughout life because of its ecologically dissimilar larval, settlement, and juvenile stages, and its migratory adult stage. Tarpon, like other marine fish, compensate for these changing visual demands by modulating the sensitivity of their retina. In vitro studies of the tarpon retina indicate differences in the wavelength sensitivity of their photoreceptors between life-history stages, but color vision in live tarpon and its relation to the light environment remain largely unknown. Therefore, the wavelength sensitivity of juvenile and adult tarpon is being measured using electroretinography (ERG); an in vivo method that measures the mass electrical output of the retina in response to colored light stimuli. Using live tarpon, ERG provides valuable information on whole-retina function in its native system that could go undetected by other methods. Spectroradiometry is being used to measure the light profiles (intensity and spectrum) of juvenile and adult tarpon habitats for comparison to their wavelength sensitivities as determined by ERG. These data will provide new insight to conservationists and anglers alike on how the Atlantic tarpon utilizes its visual sensory system to function in its marine environment.

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Science Abstracts Talk #32 – Saturday 2:00PM – 2:20PM Understanding juvenile tarpon habitat use in southwest Florida prior to habitat restoration JoEllen K. Wilson1, Aaron J. Adams2, Robert Ahrens3 Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 (jwilson@ bonefishtarpontrust.org) 2Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963 3UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 136 Newins-Ziegler Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611 1

Habitat loss is a major threat to coastal fisheries, especially for species with critical life stages that depend on estuarine habitats. Juvenile tarpon rely on wetlands, estuarine creeks and coastal embayments for their first 2-3 years, and are affected by loss of mangrove wetlands throughout their geographic range. A resolution to habitat loss is restoration. Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) has funded a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of mangrove wetland restoration in a juvenile tarpon habitat. Wildflower Preserve in SW Florida is a defunct golf course that was once creek and wetland habitat. Though altered, it still provides marginal habitat for juvenile tarpon. Restoration, funded by LBC and Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), will return Wildflower to a more natural state with fringing mangroves and connectivity between the creek-wetland network and the adjacent estuary. Sampling occurs monthly in 3 study ponds. Fish are captured using a 600’ center bag seine net, measured, fin clipped for genetics, and if over 190mm SL implanted with a PIT tag. PIT tag physical recaptures are obtained through a handheld wand or passively via an antenna placed at the only entrance/ exit point to the system. Estimates of survival, abundance, growth, movement within the system and emigration pre- and post-restoration will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the restoration. Pre-restoration monitoring results indicate relatively low abundance, seasonal growth – faster in summer, slower in winter, tendency to stay in the same pond and high emigration out of the system.

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Science Abstracts Talk #33 – Saturday 2:20PM – 2:40PM Occurrence of Tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, leptocephali in Mississippi coastal waters James Franks1, Patrick Graham2, Jason Tilley1, Dyan Gibson1, John Anderson1 and Thomas Fayton3 The University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Center for Fisheries Research and Development, 703 East Beach Dr., Ocean Springs, MS 39564 (jim.franks@usm.edu) 2Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Department of Life Sciences, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 37412-5860, 3The University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Department of Coastal Sciences, 703 East Beach Dr., Ocean Springs, MS 39564 1

Tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, larvae were rare (N=6, pre-metamorphic, 24.0 - 27.8 mm FL) in historic Gulf Coast Research Laboratory fisheries monitoring collections from Mississippi coastal waters prior to summer/fall 2013 during which time directed sampling produced an unprecedented 40 pre-metamorphic leptocephali (20.2 - 28.7 mm FL). The specimens were collected July - October using a beam plankton trawl (BPL, 750µm mesh) pulled by hand along the Mississippi Sound mainland shoreline at fixed stations (< 1.5m depth) during daytime. Leptocephali were collected at surface water temperatures and salinities of 24.8 - 34.1oC and 13.4 - 28.9 ppt., respectively. Preliminary age estimates based on otolith (sagittae) microstructure analysis ranged 28 - 34 days. The source of the leptocephali is unknown, but based on dates of collection, calculated hatch dates, preliminary examination of coastal current patterns within the Mississippi Bight, and recent evidence of spawning capable tarpon from the northern Gulf of Mexico, it is presumed the larvae were dispersed into local estuaries from suspected spawning grounds located within the Mississippi Bight.

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Science Abstracts Talk #34 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Saturday 2:40PM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3:00PM Preliminary Analysis and Interpretation of the Angler Action Database J. Struve1, B. Fitzgerald2, K. Lorenzen1, Chelsey Crandall1, J. Dutka-Gianelli1 Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences program, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 7922 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, Florida 32653. (352) 273-3632 jstruve@ufl.edu 2 Snook & Gamefish Foundation, 1505 West Terrace Drive, Lake Worth FL 33460 (561) 707-8923 brett@snookfoundation.org 1

The Angler Action Program (AAP) is a voluntary data collection program created by the Snook and Gamefish Foundation in response to the 2010 winter, when nearly 1/3 of the snook population perished. Using a mobile app, anglers record time spent fishing, number of anglers, gross location, number of snook caught, kept, and released, and size relative to legal slot size. Release data from the AAP was used in recent stock assessments, but the potential contribution of these data to scientific research and investigations should be better understood. We examine catches, discards, size distributions, user profiles and spatial and temporal trends of caught snook (Centropomus undecimalis) in the Angler Action data base and compare them qualitatively to the results of the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey and Fisheries Independent Monitoring. Voluntary data are characterized by high catch rates, high release rates, a low but increasing number of participants, and limited spatial coverage. They do not reveal the same spatial and temporal trends as largescale survey data, but little is known about the underlying reasons. A preference to report non-zero catches and limited participation are candidate factors that cause differences between self-reported data and survey data. We use simulations to examine the effects of biased reporting on catch distributions generated from largescale survey data and to determine how voluntary reported data are related to survey data collected within defined sampling frames. The results may be used to identify potential modifications to the data base and to increase angler participation in the future.

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Science Abstracts The Florida Keys Initiative Session – Saturday 1:00PM – 4:00PM Assessment of Benthic Fauna Communities on Florida Keys’ Shallow Banks as an Indicator of Prey Availability for Bonefish (Albula vulpes) Peter Frezza1, Shawn E. Clem2, Jerome J. Lorenz1 Audubon Florida, Everglades Science Center at Tavernier, 115 Indian Mound Trail, Tavernier, FL, 33070 Phone: 305-852-5318 (pfrezza@audubon.org) 2Audubon Florida, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, 375 Sanctuary Rd. West, Naples, FL 34120 Phone: 239-354-4469 1

The goals of this 1-year study were to compare patterns of bonefish abundance and to examine spatial (regional) and temporal (decadal) variation in benthic fauna communities of the Florida Keys to determine the extent that prey abundance may influence bonefish abundance and distribution. Prey sampling was conducted three times in 2012 (March, July and October) at five study sites: 3 in the Upper Keys/ Florida Bay and 1 each in Biscayne Bay and the Lower Keys. Benthic and canopydwelling fish and invertebrates were collected using 1-m2 throw traps, modeling sampling design and protocols after prior, similar studies conducted in the 1980s and 1990s. Seagrass beds at each site were characterized using 15.3-cm diameter cores and estimates of cover during each sampling event. Comparisons were made of seagrass characteristics and community structure, abundance and biomass of fish and invertebrates among sites, and with collections made in previous decades at 2 Upper Keys/Florida Bay sites. The Lower Keys had the least reported overall decline in bonefish and the highest abundance of bonefish prey, while the Upper Keys/Florida Bay had the greatest reported overall decline in bonefish and a lower abundance of bonefish prey. While results indicated lower bonefish prey abundance at two of the three Upper Keys sites relative to other regions, decadal comparisons do not suggest benthic prey abundance at these sites decreased to a great extent (if at all) over the last three decades. These findings suggest it is unlikely that prey limitation is the primary cause of the reported decline in the Upper Keys/Florida Bay bonefish population.

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Science Abstracts The Florida Keys Initiative Session â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Saturday 1:00PM â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4:00PM Long-term patterns in bonefish dynamics in Florida Bay: What do we know and what do we need to know? J.S. Rehage1, R.E. Boucek1, H.O. BriceĂąo1, J.W. Fourqurean1, J.K. Osborne2 Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University Miami, FL (Rehagej@fiu.edu) 2Everglades National Park, Homestead, FL

1

In the past few decades, recreational angler catches of bonefish have decreased significantly throughout Florida Bay & the Upper Keys. The mechanisms driving these declines are unknown, yet concerning given the key role of bonefish as an overall indicator of ecosystem health, the large socio-economic value of this recreational fishery to the Florida Keys, and present as well as past environmental concerns affecting the region (e.g., algal blooms). Even if bonefish catch declines in Florida Bay reflect redistribution of the species and not true population declines, they are likely indicative of ecologically-important decreases in habitat quantity and/or quality and the associated fitness trade offs for bonefish (e.g., lower prey profitability relative to other regions). We may then expect habitat degradation to decrease habitat use and promote emigration, altering distributional patterns, as well as negatively affecting overall population performance, long-term persistence, and the sustainability of the recreational fishery. But, is habitat degradation driving bonefish declines? And if so, which component/s of habitat degradation is most important in driving these declines? Our research focuses on examining the potential drivers in the decline in bonefish angler catches. We take a long-term retrospective approach of multiple datasets to examine the links among (1) water quality and climatic parameters, (2) seagrass dynamics, (3) prey abundance and distribution, and (4) bonefish angler catches in Florida Bay.

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Live Auction Items 1.Cliff Outdoors Bugger Beast Fly Box with art by Ty Hallock and filled with Symposium Special Flies “Available One Time Only” from Peter Smith of SS Flies. 2. Live Auction Art Entry – To Be Added from Art Festival 3. One Day of Fishing with IGFA Hall of Fame Angler Stu Apte, Guided by Capt. Rick Murphy, the package also includes 2 nights and 1 dinner at Cheeca Lodge, and 1 dinner for 2 at Chef Michael’s Gourmet Restaurant in Islamorada. Mutually agreed upon dates. 4. Mangrove Cay Club - 3 Days / 4 Nights for 2 people with 3 days of guided fishing and includes: Accommodations; guided flats fishing; all meals; round-trip airport to lodge transfers; beverages including house wines; bar liquors, beer, bottled water; soft drinks; wireless connection, VOIP telephone calls (no charge within North America) and room taxes. Not included: Air fare, some wines and liquors; gratuities for fishing guides and ground staff; Bahamian Departure Tax of $25 where applicable Dates Available: Mangrove Cay closes each season for the months of July, August, and September. Expiration date is November 30, 2015. 5. Belcampo Lodge - 2 Days / 3 Nights for 2 at world class luxury resort Belcampo Lodge with 2 Days of guided fishing. Package includes: nightly accommodation in a Jungle Suite, 2 days fishing with a professional guide, all meals, afternoon snacks, use of gym, laundry service, self-guided complimentary activities (kayaking/canoing, mountain biking, on-site hiking), ground transfers between Punta Gorda airstrip and lodge, tax and service charge. Does not include: Local transportation between BZE and Punta Gorda, gratuity for fishing guide, optional activities, beverages, spa and gift shop. Dates available; Trip expires December 31st, 2015, and dates are available from November 2014 thru December 31, 2015. Black-out dates are Sept 15th – October 31st when the lodge closes. 6. One of a Kind Etched Nautilus Reel by Marine Artist Jorge Martinez Custom Nautilus NV-G 9/10wt. fly reel with 1/1 Jorge Martinez permit engraving made specifically for the 2014 BTT Symposium.

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Silent Auction Items Gear Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler with BTT logo • Big Boner Push Pole Barnaby Black Men’s Gift Basket • Men’s and Ladies Blu Kicks Tarpon Shoes Winston Rod with BTT Logo • Box of Backbone Lures Cortland product fly line packs • 12Wt Sun Protection Apparel True Flies, Yeti Roadie, Tarpon Belt, Caps • Hardy Rod • Cliff Outdoors Pack St. Croix Legend Inshore spinning rod • Howler Bros Gift Certificate Clark “St Vrain Special” 7’ split bamboo fly rod • Orvis Vortex 9/10wt. reel Ross Canyon 8wt. fly reel • Ross Flystik 7’11” 10wt. “Bass” fly rod Sage 7’11” 10wt. fly rod • Sage 13wt. 9’ 4 piece Xi3 fly rod Sage Xi2 9’ 8wt. fly rod • TFO 15wt. 8’6” 3 piece fly rod TFO 7’11” 10wt. “Bass” fly rod • TFO 15wt. 8’ 3 piece fly rod Tibor Reel: 8wt. “Everglades” • Tibor Reel: 10wt. “Riptide” QC Tibor Reel: 15-16wt. “Pacific” • Orvis fly and leader stretcher case Abel Super7 Limited Edition Tim Borski Redfish fly reel Renzetti Vise and Fly Tying Package In the Mix Bartending Service $225 Gift Certificates for Bar Tending Books Passion for Tarpon by And Mill, signed limited edition 217 of 250 Seasons on the Flats by Bill Horn, signed 101 Fish - A Fly Fisher’s Life List by Lefy Kreh, signed Fishing Knots by Lefty Kreh, signed Guide To Saltwater Prey by Aaron Adams, signed Stu’s Favorite Long Stories told Short by Stu Apte, signed Saltwater Day Dreams by Pat Ford, signed Fly Fishing for Bonefish by Chico Fernandez, signed Feather Brain by Drew Chicone, signed

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Silent Auction Items Art Ted Kellogg Carved and Painted Bonefish King Sailfish Mounts - Tarpon Mount Guy Harvey Prints Jorge Martinez Print Vaugn Cochran/Stu Apte Posters signed Glass Bonefish by David Oppenheimer Saltwater Gamefish by Mark Sussino Gyotaku Tarpon Print by Stephen DiCerbo Costa Bonefish Sculpture Earle Waters 8 x 11, Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit Art pieces donated by Art Festival Artists Guided Fishing Days Capt. C.A. Richardson • Capt. Carl Ball • Capt. Aaron Adams Capt. Richard Black • Capt. John Donnell Capt. Drew Moret • Capt. Bob Branham • Capt. Will Benson Capt. Joe Gonzalez • Capt. Mo Estevez • Capt. Joe Porcellli Fishing Trips 5 Night/4 Day trip to The Palometa Club Florida Keys Outfitters Fly Fishing School Tuition and 2 Nights at the Islander Resort 2 Nights at the Islander Resort and Half Day of Flats Fishing with Capt. Mike Venezia Day of Fishing with Chico - Guided by Dave Denkert Evening of Tarpon Fishing with Mark Sosin and Bouncer Smith 2 Nights, 3 Day Stay at River Palm Cottages with 1/2 day of fishing with Rufus Wakeman and day of fishing with Mike Holliday Airboat Adventure with Flip Pallot, includes fishing, a cookout lunch, and marsh tour during the day

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BTT thanks you for attending the 5th International Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Symposium. We hope you will consider becoming a member or sponsoring one of our many initiatives. Please visit www.btt.org for more information. See you in 2017!!

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2014 Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Symposium  

2014 Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Symposium  

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