Alternate Title

Survival and Movement Patterns of Released Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus)


Survival of tarpon caught and released by anglers near Boca Grande Pass in Southwestern Florida was assessed by sonic tracking. Dart tags attached to ultrasonic transmitters were applied to tarpon just before release. The tarpon were tracked for 1.1-12.1 hr (mean = 4.8 hr), until a corrodible magnesium link allowed the transmitter to detach and float to the surface. Twenty-six of 27 (96.3%) tarpon survived, as determined by continued movement of the fish during the tracking. Fourteen of 25 fish that were caught in Boca Grande Pass remained in the pass, 7 moved into the Gulf of Mexico, and 4 moved into Charlotte Harbor. Swimming speed ranged from 1.8 to 2.9 knots (mean = 2.4 knots) and was not related to time (after release) or size. The high survival rate may be at least partially attributable to local angling techniques and handling practices.