Migration Matters

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Long-Distance Swimmer
A bonefish travels almost 200 miles across the Gulf Stream.

SILVER SPRINTER: A tagged bonefish swam 186 miles from Key Biscayne to the Bahamas.
Photo: Barry and Cathy Beck

We know bonefish swim fast. But, until recently, we didn't know how far they can swim.

Last December, Brian Harris of Fort Myers, Florida, landed a 28-inch-long, tagged bonefish while fishing off Andros Island in the Bahamas. After Harris accidentally removed the tag during the release, he called the number on the tag for a history lesson on his bonefish.

The fish was tagged in February 2005 off-get this-Key Biscayne. In ten months, the fish traveled 186 miles across the Gulf Stream-the longest recorded distance traveled by a bonefish and more than 100 miles farther than the previous record-holder.

Jerry Ault, a researcher at the University of Miami who helped launch the South Florida tagging program, told the Miami Herald that recaptured bonefish rarely travel more than 12 miles. "The fact that we've got a Florida fish in the Bahamas opens a Pandora's box of research," Ault told the Herald. "Suddenly, East has met West."