Mote’s research relies primarily on the use of sonic tags attached on or in the tarpon that will send
a subsonic ‘ping’ with a unique signal. Along with more than 50 waterproof receivers anchored throughout
Charlotte Harbor, in Boca Grande Pass and along area beaches, these tags will allow identification
and tracking of each fish.
Another advantage of the system of sonic tags and receivers is that compatible receivers have been
placed all over the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, allowing collaboration with colleagues in those areas.
“So, if a tarpon, for example, that we’ve tagged here swims up the coast to Tampa bay, colleagues will
pick it up on their receiver,” said Adams.
Adams also said responsible fishing practices are necessary: Catch-and-release practices, keeping
fish in the water and keeping fight times short are all important.
Adams also believes it’s important for anglers to behave responsibly when fishing. This includes
minimizing disturbances to fish in migratory pathways and moving lanes.
“If a fish keeps getting run over, whether it’s a tarpon or a redfish or a snook, that to the fish is a
disturbance,” he said. “And so it’s going to perhaps go somewhere else. That type of behavior by anglers
that keep running over fish can change their movement pattern, and that’s not just tarpon.”
In his studies Adams said changes that occurred in stressed tarpon were similar to those endured
by athletes in high stress situations like marathons. Changes in 11 parameters including glucose,
hemoglobin and lactic acid were significant but, especially in adults, ameliorated by more responsible