Pigeon Key has a lot of wildlife that surround our tiny island! Whether it be migratory fowl or the countless species of fish that live under our dock, there is always something to marvel at. The Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Center’s Conservation Angling program allows visiting students of all ages to experience the thrill of catching a fish, identifying it, and releasing it back into the ocean. Fish can range from a small French Grunt to a large Nurse Shark, thus providing the students with the type of hands on learning that The Pigeon Key Foundation and Marine Science Center strives for.
This year, the Pigeon Key Foundation began tagging sharks! Thanks to a Beachside Montessori teacher (one of our education groups), we are now able to contribute to Gray Fishtag Research. GFR is a non-profit organization, based out of Florida, that provides fish tags at no costs for fisherman of all levels. The purpose of a fish tag is to better understand migration patterns, growth rates, and where certain species can be found. With the help of anglers reporting tagged fish, the goal is to connect the scientific community with fishermen all over the world in order to get a better glance at what is happening in our oceans. Both our education groups and summer camps were able to tag sharks that we caught right off of our dock! Each tag comes with a Research Report Card where we record the date, species tagged, sex, length, weight, and the condition of the fish! By registering their catches on the Gray Fishtag website the students get to play a vital role in future research. GFR is dedicated to making sure that the data collected can be shared with the scientific community at no cost for the betterment of the oceans and its wildlife.