Understanding how a Seagrass Die-off affects Recreational Sportfish Behavior

Understanding how a Seagrass Die-off affects Recreational Sportfish Behavior

Project Overview

Little is known about the effect of seagrass die off on recreational fish species. In 2015, a drought-related seagrass die off occurred in an underwater area about 17,000 football fields in size within Florida Bay.  This project tackles the question of what happens to seagrass dependent recreational fish species (e.g., gray snapper, seatrout, red drum) when a seagrass die off occurs. Specifically, does loss of seagrass affect the movement, distribution, and food resources of fish? Seagrass mapping will be used to investigate the extent of seagrass die-off while approximately 60 receivers and 150 tags will be used to investigate the broad and fine-scale movement patterns in response to this disturbance.

Why this matters

Regulations aiming to preserve Florida Bay’s recreational fisheries are underway, so it is crucial to understand how events like seagrass die-off can affect the behavior and health of these species to better protect them.

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Project Status

  • Ongoing; currently in the range testing and deployment planning phase with a planned deployment in early fall 2019

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