The Silver King
The Tarpon Genetics Program has concluded, providing illuminating results that will help build effective regional management and conservation plans for tarpon. This two-year collaborative study between BTT and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) sought to study how many distinct Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) populations exist, and if more than one existed, where they were geographically located.
Thanks to the efforts of anglers, guides, lodges, and researchers, more than 23,000 tarpon scale samples were collected from all over the world, providing the study with a massive dataset for analysis. Many were collected from Florida waters during the previous FWC Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study, and scales were collected from tarpon in 24 other areas across the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean. Different portions of tarpon DNA were examined to determine if the patterns in each individual tarpon were the same or different from other tarpon. If they were the same, then no matter where the fish were caught, they would be considered part of the same genetic population.