All About Florida Keys Fishing & Key West Fishing

    Tag a Permit for Research Gains

    By tagging and genetically sampling permit,
    catch-and-release anglers can participate in
    an unprecedented statewide study of the

    The permit, Trachinotus falcatus, is a prized catch in Florida--famously pursued over the
    crystal flats of the Keys along with bonefish and tarpon, but also popular off the beaches
    and reefs of both coasts. Commercial fishermen, hook-and-line anglers, and spear divers
    regard permit as tasty table fare.

    Yet this prizefighter on the flats has attracted surprisingly little attention from researchers.
    Only one life history study, by Crabtree and others in 2001, has documented the species'
    age, growth, and reproduction in Florida. That study examined 536 fish, mostly from the

    To obtain more statewide information on the species, the Florida Fish and Wildlife
    Conservation Commission (FWC) and the private Bonefish & Tarpon Trust launched
    Project Permit in March 2010. The trust proposed the collaborative study after obtaining a
    grant from Costa Del Mar, which agreed to supply funds for the tagging kits for three to five

    The project depends upon permit anglers to learn about the resource, then tag and fin-clip
    the fish they catch and release. Both the tag and the DNA obtained from the fin clip can be
    used to determine if the same fish is recaptured later. A similar study assists genetic
    research on tarpon.

    Two kinds of data analysis will help resource managers determine whether to regulate the
    permit fishery statewide or develop separate rules for different regions. First, biologists will
    look at movement patterns (e.g., reefs to shore, reef to reef, inshore to offshore, south to
    north) of recaptured permit from the recreational fishery.  Second, scientists at the FWC's
    Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) will examine the genetic samples to assess
    the population structure and determine whether permit throughout Florida's coastal and
    inshore waters share a single genetic stock.

    Join the Permit Research Team

    To obtain a free tagging kit and instructions, e-mail or call 1-
    800-367-4461. Specify that you would like to help tag permit.

    Each kit contains enough material to sample five fish. Clipping a half-inch piece of tissue
    from the soft rays of the anal or dorsal fin will provide enough DNA to allow them to evaluate
    stock structure. Anglers may hold their samples until the end of the season and deliver
    them at their convenience. No refrigeration is necessary, but extreme heat should be
    avoided. Fin clips can be mailed to the FWRI at the following address:

    Attn: Project Permit
    FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
    100 Eighth Avenue SE
    St. Petersburg, FL 33701

    Other data reports can be mailed, scanned and e-mailed, or submitted online. The data
    sheet in each tagging kit includes instructions for doing so.

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
    620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
    32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676
Sight-fishing has become
such a mainstay of our
angling that it seems natural
to keep on the move. We
pole, bump the trolling
motor, wade, paddle,
whatever, to cover as much
water as we can. Riddled
with anxiety, our vision of El
Dorado is a square tail
flicking above the surface,
maybe a copper missile
crossing a pothole in a
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