Bonefish are valuable for several reasons. Because of their large size, bonefish obviously rely on smaller creatures in the ecosystem whose populations aren't as easy to assess. Bonefish are fairly easy to count on the flats and can be seen as an indicator of the overall ecosystem's general healthresearchers will observe changes here much sooner than within a smaller creature whose numbers are in the millions. Long-time bonefish anglers often remark on the dramatic decreases they've observed in this popular sportfish's population.
"Bonefish are a great indicator of ecological change," Ault said. "I would be concerned if the population drops from 300,000 to 200,000."
These fish also bring South Florida a significant amount of tourism. Bonefish sportfishing contributes approximately $1.0 billion annually to the Florida economy, making sportfishing more valuable than commercial fishing in today's market.
"This estimate of the 'visible' population makes each bonefish in the water worth about $3,500 per year to the industry, and about $75,000 per fish over its lifetime," Ault said.
|Contact: Barbra Gonzalez|
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science