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Tarpon Springs, FL, United States

Black B.D.,Bonefish & Tarpon Trust | Adams A.J.,Bonefish & Tarpon Trust | Bergh C.,The Nature Conservancy
Environmental Biology of Fishes | Year: 2015

The Florida Keys is recognized as the birth place of flats fishing, but the flats fishery has historically been underappreciated by resource managers because it is a catch and release fishery. However, the fishery is increasingly threatened by habitat degradation and user conflicts. Ongoing regulatory revisions in the Florida Keys prompted us to work with flats fishing guides to document spatial fishing coverage and habitats so that this information could be included in management revisions. We used a geostatistical approach to create contour maps depicting fishing coverage and habitats, and provided this information to resource managers. This participatory GIS approach engages stakeholders in the management process, uses their knowledge of the resource, and contributes to resource and fisheries conservation. This study, in combination with research on the economic impact of the flats fishery, presents the flats fishery as an important conservation tool for the region and underscores the implication of relationships between researchers and data providers in the saltwater recreational fishery. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht Source

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