Tarpon contest chatter on the web... FYI
Dear Fellow Anglers:
From its inception, the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) has been conducted in a sporting manner with an emphasis on promoting conservation and the sport of Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande. I would like to tell you about our history of conservation efforts and share some facts about ongoing and future efforts to protect the fishery that we all respect and depend upon.
Firstly, the PTTS has worked closely with biologists from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commissions, Fish & Wildlife Research Institute to make sure we all benefit from the best science available and help to manage the fishery. In 2005, the PTTS served as the pilot study for the FWC´s current Tarpon DNA tagging program. Since then, our organization and our anglers have provided nearly 1,000 Tarpon DNA samples to the FWC to further their research.
More recently, at the request of FWC biologists, we allowed FWC Tarpon Researchers to take possession of Tarpon that had been weighed during our 2010 PTTS & WPTTS events, so they could take blood samples and perform other tests that they were not normally able to perform, as easily, and cost effectively, as they could at our events. The purpose of the Tarpon Physiology study was to evaluate the effects of fight time, handling and the environment on the stress responses of tarpon measured using changes in blood chemistry. This study is ongoing.
Today, the best scientific data available indicate the Tarpon population is healthy and stable. The harvest of Tarpon each year in Florida is less than 1 percent of total fish caught. The Catch and Release mortality of Tarpon in Florida is an average of 13 percent. Absent of predation, the Catch and Release mortality rate falls to 5 percent. These numbers are very low and further illustrate that there is not a problem with the Tarpon population in Florida.
As for Boca Grande area and PTTS’s impact, on average, 81 Tarpon per year are weighed in PTTS & WPTTS events. Hypothetically assuming the mortality rate of these fish was 100 percent, which it has been scientifically proven not to be, PTTS tournament activity likely has no effect on the Tarpon population as a whole. Further, each of those fish is legally allowed to be harvested, but PTTS tournament regulations require the fish to be released alive.
In addition, the PTTS remains one of the only inshore fishing tournaments that require the use of circle hooks, which have been found to greatly reduce the catch and release mortality on Tarpon and a variety of other fish species because of their design to hook fish in the corner of the mouth. Circle hooks are required for use with livebait or artificial lures in PTTS competition. This rule will remain in effect in 2012, and we encourage our anglers to exercise this practice outside of tournament hours.
On that topic, in 2004, scientists at the Florida Wildlife Research Institute, the research arm of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission conducted a study of Tarpon Catch and Release Mortality and the incidences of foul hooking of Tarpon in Boca Grande. The study found foul hooking using the methods of livebait or “jig” fishing did not contribute significantly to the mortality of Tarpon. The report also pointed out foul hooking is normal in hook and line fishing, and the percentages of foul hooking of Tarpon by anglers using the “jig” was in accord with foul-hooking percentages recorded in other fisheries. Since our inception we have disqualified any fish hooked outside of the mouth, and this rule will remain in effect.
This year we plan to further our conservation efforts by continuing to work closely with the FWC and making adjustments to our tournament rules. Based on the best science available and recommendations by the FWC on how to further reduce stress and mortality of fish caught during our events, we will be implementing the following changes for our 2012 events:
Boundaries: Teams fighting a fish will no longer be allowed to weigh the fish if the team’s boat leaves the designated Boca Grande Pass boundaries.
This rule will motivate the teams to land the fish as fast as possible, which will result in less fight time. It will also limit the towing time and distance to the weigh scale.
Line Size: The minimum line size permitted for use will be increased from 40lb test, to 50lb test.
Increasing the minimum size and strength of our competitor’s fishing line will result in less fight time.
Weigh process: Teams will no longer hoist the fish out of the water for pictures at the weigh scale. The photos will be taken in our newly designed clear sling. Additionally, we will have two designated “Release Teams” trained by fisheries biologists in proper handling and revival techniques. The release teams will be responsible for the revival and release of all weighed fish ensuring that they are released outside of the fight zone
Our organization and anglers understand that we have a duty to conserve and protect the resource we enjoy so much, and to give back to the community by supporting conservation and preservation efforts. This year we pledge to provide $15,000 to further support the FWRI’s Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study, and to resurrect the Boca Grande Pass Cleanup.
Tarpon can be identified using DNA fingerprinting, or "fin printing," techniques. Genetic samples collected by the angling public can be used to determine recapture rates, health, migration, and movements of individual fish. By evaluating these factors on recaptured fish over time, biologists at the FWRI and partners at Mote Marine Laboratory can assess the success of tarpon stocks and the connectivity of, or relationship between, tarpon and different bodies of Florida waters.
Efforts designed to remove human generated debris from the bottom of Boca Grande Pass have not occurred since 2008. During past cleanup efforts, tons of debris has been cleared from the floor and ledges of the pass. Among recovered items have been many anchors, ropes, crab traps, heavy wire and cable, and fishing terminal tackle or all types and sizes. These items often hang up anglers’ lines only adding to the debris. Resurrecting the Pass cleanup effort will have a positive impact on the Boca Grande Pass habitat and the variety of wildlife that calls it home.
We will continue to promote conservation and to conduct our activities while exercising the utmost respect for the fishery, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss anything we can do to provide additional benefits to the community.
Silver King Entertainment, LLC
12:16 PM (1 hour ago)
to PTTS, etc
1st. You sent your email in the open so that anyone can copy several hundred addresses instead of using BCC. Thank you in advance for the spam surely to follow.
2nd. I’ve watched your “contest” enough times to realized that many of your collected tarpon DNA samples represent dead fish that will never be seen again.
3rd. Your operation will eventually cause the tarpon to avoid Boca Grande as it is so disruptive of their normal migration patterns.
4th. The circus atmosphere your “contest” creates furthers the culture of excess where more is the ultimate goal.
5th. Only the sharks and bottom feeders benefit from this absurdity.
IFFF Certified THCI @ 2005
Capeflyfisher Guide Service
Island Hopper, Guitarist, Incurable Dreamer
and Founder, Worldwide Flyfishing Forum