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First Seining Experience with the Flats team

May 6, 2011

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As we walked past the death rock, Dave Philipp (advisory board member) spotted a school of bonefish. We quickly ran back to the boat with much excitement, our hearts pounding in our ears, and grabbed the seine net to began encircling the oncoming fish slowly and carefully  As we enclosed the entire school of over 200 bonefish they erupted in a frenzy of silver flashes and tails splashing. We quickly had to grab each bonefish with either a dip-net or our bare hands and transfer them into a holding net. When we first attempted this, the fish easily slipped out of our clutching fingers so we soon learned the correct techniques of firmly grasping the fish. The next step was to measure and tag the bonefish. We did this by carefully transferring them into water-filled totes and while one person held the fish, another measured the fish’s fork length, total length and then tagged it. After this process was completed, we released the fish back into its natural environment, first making sure that it wasn’t in shock or fatigued, to help protect it from awaiting predators such as lemon sharks and barracudas. At the end of the afternoon, the flats team had tagged 140 bonefish and measured 13 re-captures to contribute to our research data. Just another day with the flats research team…

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