An Ecological Characterization of Tarpon and Snook Nursery Habitats in Texas

Atlantic Tarpon and the snook species complex (primarily Fat Snook and Common Snook) are highly revered sportfish in Texas’ marine waters and species of greatest conservation need in the Texas Conservation Action Plan. In the mid-1900s, these species experienced population crashes in Texas. Numerous reasons for these declines have been suggested, but they are commonly attributed to several factors, including overfishing and reduced recruitment. Assessing juvenile recruitment to these populations is difficult as knowledge of nursery habitat ecology is limited.

The purpose of this project is to provide new information on the ecology of juvenile tarpon and snook occurring in nursery habitats along the mid-Texas coast using standardized bimonthly field sampling, acoustic telemetry, and conventional tagging. This ecological characterization will provide novel information on these species seasonal residency, habitat use, and apparent survival, and the physical, biological, and environmental characteristics of these habitats. These data will ultimately aid resource managers seeking to identify and improve conservation measures for these important species in Texas.