Inaugural Spring Florida Keys Bonefish Population Census, April 7

Anglers, Guides Needed to Help Count Populations of One of Florida’s Most Important Sport Fish


Virginia Key, FL — The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (formerly BTU) announced that the Inaugural Florida Keys Spring Bonefish Population Census will take place on Tuesday, April 7. The bonefish census is conducted to determine population trends for one of the Florida Keys’ most important sport fish. It is the only population estimate done on bonefish and the information is critical in terms of evaluating year-to-year changes and the long-term sustainability of this important population.

The data collected from the first Spring census being conducted this year will complement the annual census conducted in the Fall for the last six years. Last Fall more than 70 teams spread out across 19 zones in four regions (Biscayne, Upper, Middle, and Lower Keys) from Key Biscayne to the Marquesas accumulated bonefish sightings during the one-day survey. Census results reported to Dr. Jerald Ault’s team at the Rosenstiel School were statistically analyzed and indicated a population of just over 320,000 bonefish in the Florida Keys fishery. (These are bonefish that are large enough (i.e. > 14 inches) to be targeted on the flats for catch and release sport fishing.)

“Our goal is to use the data collected in the Spring census to calibrate our Fall estimates, and determine if there is a seasonal component to the fluctuations in bonefish population size estimates,” said Dr. Jerry Ault. UM Rosenstiel School professor of marine biology and fisheries and co-founder of the census.

All information collected will remain confidential, and will be only used for scientific research purposes. Professional guides and knowledgeable flats anglers are all welcome to participate in the census. Participation packages can be downloaded at, or if preferred, packages can be email or faxed. Census participation packages can also be picked up at Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada, World Class Angler in Marathon, and the Saltwater Angler in Key West. Those interested in participating should call 305-421-4884 or email to register, or if they have any questions.

About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School
Founded in the 1940’s, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life.  For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:

Barbra Gonzalez
UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Marie Guma-Diaz
UM Media Relations Office

bonefish and tarpon trust •  dr. jerald ault •  marine fish •  conservation •  ecology •  environmental •