Tarpon Travels More than 400 Miles in a Month

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust acoustic tagging program detects first sizable travel by tarpon

tarpon acoustic tagging program
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust reported its first tarpon detection, Helios, a 45-pound tarpon that traveled more than 400 miles in one month.Courtesy Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) reports the first tarpon detection from its acoustic tagging program, and it provides new insight into tarpon movement.

Helios is an approximately 45-pound tarpon sponsored by Perk Perkins, CEO of The Orvis Company. It was caught on a live crab and tagged in late May in the Lower Florida Keys by BTT scientists from UMass Amherst and Carleton University, and was the second fish ever tagged as part of the program. We just received word from colleagues that their receiver near Port Orange, Florida, detected Helios in late June. This relatively small tarpon traveled over 400 miles in a month.

tarpon acoustic tagging program
Previous satellite tagging efforts funded by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust were limited to tagging fish 80 pounds or larger.Courtesy Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

The group began to acoustically tag tarpon this past May in an effort to expand on knowledge of tarpon habitat use and movement at different life stages. This underscores the importance of acoustic tagging to provide new insight into tarpon movement and habitat use during different life stages, and will provide information that is critical to BTT’s conservation efforts. Stay tuned for more recaptures and fascinating new insights on these amazing creatures.

This detection is interesting because it’s the first time we have been able to actively track fish in this size range — previous satellite tagging efforts funded by BTT were limited to tagging fish 80 pounds or larger. A 45-pound fish like Helios is years from becoming sexually mature, which has been considered the size that tarpon start longer distance migrations. It’s also pretty remarkable that it traveled so far in a short period of time.

For more information about the program, visit the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust website.