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July 21, 2011

Project Permit expands to Mexico

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Costa research program to cover more ground

Project Permit, the permit tagging research initiative led by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Costa™ Sunglasses, is expanding into the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.  Currently in its second year, Project Permit began as a research study to tag and monitor the permit fish population in Florida and the Caribbean.

Permit are often referred to as one of the most elusive game fish of the salt water flats, inspiring anglers worldwide in a quest to catch them.  And yet, little is known about the mysterious species.  Scientists and regulators are interested to learn the permit spawning and migration patterns as well as the overall health of the fish population.  The collected data will help inform permit regulations and policies, to ensure adequate stock for future sport fishing generations to enjoy.

“Far too often we wait until a fishery is in trouble before we collect the information necessary to responsibly manage a fishery,” said Dr. Aaron Adams, director of operations for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.  “By expanding Project Permit into Mexico, we’ll gain valuable insight to the permit there – and that data will ultimately benefit the anglers who travel to the Yucatan Peninsula to fish, the guides who work there, their families and the communities that depend on the fishery.”

Guide training on how to tag a permit is already underway, as the program spreads across the Yucatan region.  The program depends on recreational anglers to catch and tag permit over the next several years in Florida, the Caribbean and now Mexico. A brief video demonstrating how to tag a permit can be seen online at www.projectpermit.com.

“Permit are called rock stars of the flats, and catching one has defined many an angler,” said Al Perkinson, vice president of marketing for Costa.  “But there’s still so much we don’t know.  If permit habitats are lost because of encroaching development or other factors, we need to know that now, rather than wait until an entire fishery is gone.  Project Permit will help gather scientific data we can use to make sound decisions to protect permit environments now, and so future generations can enjoy.”

Professional guides and recreational anglers interested in participating in the Project Permit tagging program can request free tag kits by calling 239-283-4733 or emailing bonefish@mote.org. Instructions on how to tag the permit will be included in the kits, and can also be found at www.projectpermit.com.