By looking back at the original tag data of the fish that were recaptured, it was found that those fish had been recaptured in the same location where they were originally tagged. Knowing that bonefish have small home ranges has important conservation implications. For example, human disturbances such a jet ski’s, hotel developments, and marina construction can negatively impact a flat and degrade it to a point that could displace a local population of bonefish. This reinforced Justin’s classroom presentation, during which he described the small home ranges of bonefish. Having students participate in research such as this gives them perspective into what it is like to be in the field of marine science, which might appeal to some of the students as they prepare to head off to college. More importantly, it allows these young students to see and experience the vital bonefish habitat found all around the Bahamas, and hopefully that experience has given them a greater appreciation and awareness of its fragility and importance.
Justin will continue his education and outreach efforts throughout the islands he visits, educating students and adults alike about the importance of the flats and bonefish to the Bahamas, and getting them involved in the conservation work that Bonefish and Tarpon Trust does around the country. Continued research efforts to identify key bonefish habitats and studying their behavior is integral to the conservation of the species and protection of their habitats. This ongoing research will ensure a healthy fishery for generations to come.