A decade-long connectivity study of Permit (Trachinotus falcatus) in Florida supports a spatial management approach

Ross E. Boucek, Robert D. Ellis, Andrew R. Forauer, Aaron J. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Understanding the scale of fish movements is essential to establish appropriate fisheries management boundaries. In Florida (USA), Permit (Trachinotus falcatus) is a valued recreational species as a sportfish and as table fare. The Permit fishery in Florida occurs in two geographic sectors: (1) in the Florida Keys and in Biscayne Bay, most anglers value Permit as a sportfish and generally practice catch and release; (2) north of the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay, where a higher proportion of anglers are harvest oriented. In 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) established a Special Permit Zone (SPZ) in the Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay to reduce harvest and to improve the shallow water flats fishery, but maintained regulations friendly to the harvest fishery in the remainder of the state. To determine the extent to which the SPZ is an effective spatial management tool to protect the South Florida sportfish fishery, we used a state-wide mark-recapture program and acoustic telemetry focused on tracking the northern fishery. Between March 2010 and August 2019, anglers dart tagged 1488 Permit, and we acoustically tagged 17 Permit. Only 28 dart-tagged fish were recaptured during the study period and just two of those had moved across the SPZ boundary; in addition, only one of the 17 telemetered fish migrated southward and was detected 3 km south of the SPZ boundary. These results corroborate previous research of Permit movements in the SPZ which also showed infrequent movement across the SPZ border. Thus, it appears that the current spatial approach to management of Permit in south Florida is appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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