The Tarpon Genetic Recapture study was started in 2005, to track the recapture rates, population structure and migratory patterns of the silver king.
The program uses simple kits to collect the DNA of the tarpon. Each kit includes a pencil, instructions, a waterproof data sheet, three scrub pads and three waterproof labeled vials with a preservative solution.
These kits are now available at the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce office at 420 E. Railroad Avenue.
“I have contacted the FWC personally to order DNA sampling kits for the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study and I have volunteered the Chamber office as a pick up and drop off point for kits,” said Chamber Executive Director Lew Hastings. “I will personally make sure they get to the FWC for study. Anyone interested in taking part in the Tarpon Genetic Recapture Study may pick up new kits and drop off completed kits at the Chamber office Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm starting this week.”
Anyone can participate, and the study will help scientists to learn more about the relatively unknown habits of the fish. It can also help scientists learn about tarpon deaths. Samples can be taken from fish killed by a shark while being caught or found dead in the water.
Collection is simple and can be done by one person. When the captured tarpon is under control beside the boat, use the sampling sponge to rub the fish’s outer jaw until the sponge is white or silver. You do not have to have a tarpon tag to take the sample. After you release the fish, place the sponge into one of the waterproof vials containing the storage solution and close the lid tightly. If at all possible, do not let slime or other contaminants get into the bottle. Write the bottle number on your waterproof record, along with the location.
At least three-quarters of the pad needs to be submerged in the preservative. If the preservative spills out of the container, just keep the sample refrigerated until you can get a replacement vial.
Then just turn in the vials next time you are at a collection point. Island locations include Boca Grande Outfitters, Boca Grande Marina, and now the Chamber offices.
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