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New tarpon, bonefish compendium published

With a career devoted to understanding how best to manage some of Florida's most popular sport fish, Rosenstiel School faculty member Dr. Jerry Ault has published Effective Strategies for the Management of Sustainable Fisheries: Biology and Management of the World Tarpon and Bonefish Fisheries.

Ault, an assistant professor in the Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, conducts an annual bonefish census, has a unique high-tech tagging approach to studying tarpon and bonefish, and also leads a multi-organization census in the Dry Tortugas reserve every other year.

The core of a multibillion dollar sport fishing industry, tarpon and bonefish, two of the earth's oldest creatures, are experiencing obvious and precipitous population declines, Ault said. Experienced anglers in the Florida Keys suggest a drop of approximately 90-95 percent for the bonefish population over the past 65 years.

Despite the economic value of the industry and scientific value of these ancient fish, very little information is available about their movements and migrations, population dynamics, life histories, and reproductive habits to effectively sustain fisheries for these species.

With contributions from some of the world's leading experts, Ault's book synthesizes existing scientific literature, presents new perspectives, and introduces original scientific research to guide fishery management and conservation efforts for building sustainable tarpon and bonefish fisheries. Divided into five sections, the book begins with an overview of the state of the world's fisheries for tarpon and bonefish. The second section reviews the biology and life history dynamics of these fish with contributions on conservation genetics, reproductive biology and early life development, as well as resolving gaps in evolutionary lineage and taxonomy. Covering population dynamics and resource ecology, the third section discusses migratory patterns in the Atlantic and the use of tagging. Highlighting the lore and appeal of these fascinating sport fish, the book concludes by introducing myriad proposals designed to improve fishery sustainability by conducting censuses, enforcing catch-and-release programs, and supporting science-based management decision making.


Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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