6th Annual Florida Keys Bonefish Population Census starts October 29

Anglers, guides needed to help count populations of one of Florida's most important sport fish

The University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited announced today that the 6th Annual Florida Keys Fall Bonefish Population Census has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 29, 2008. The bonefish census is conducted to determine population trends for one of the Florida Keys' most important sport fish. It is the only population estimate done on bonefish and the information is critical in terms of evaluating year-to-year changes and the long-term sustainability of this important population.
 
Last year more than 70 teams spread out across 19 zones in four regions (Biscayne, Upper, Middle, and Lower Keys) from Key Biscayne to the Marquesas accumulated bonefish sightings during the one-day survey. Census results reported to Dr. Jerald Ault's team at the Rosenstiel School were statistically analyzed and indicated a population of just over 300,000 bonefish in the Florida Keys fishery. (These are bonefish that are large enough (i.e. > 14 inches) to be targeted on the flats for catch and release sport fishing.)
 
All information collected will remain confidential, and will be only used for scientific research purposes. Professional guides and knowledgeable flats anglers are all welcome to participate in the census. Participation packages can be downloaded at www.bonefishresearch.com <http://www.bonefishresearch.com> , or if preferred, packages can be email or faxed.  Census participation packages can also be picked up at Don's Bait and Tackle in Homestead, Yellow Bait House in Key Largo, Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada, World Class Angler in Marathon, and the Saltwater Angler in Key West.  Those interested in participating should call 305-421-4884 or email jault@rsmas.miami.edu to register, or if they have any questions.