Mote installs new snook-monitoring antenna in Phillippi Creek
The new antenna will expand fisheries data for the Phillippi Creek system
Mote Marine Laboratory installed its newest snook-monitoring antenna this month in the Phillippi Creek Levee Trail area of Sarasota County to track snook released into Phillippi Creek’s stormwater canal system, and in turn, inform county-level efforts to make the canals more fish-friendly.
Phillippi Creek drains approximately 60 square miles (145 square kilometers) of Sarasota County land. Its downstream waterways are richer in natural habitat and its upstream waterways bear a clearer human fingerprint, with limited vegetation, more straightened and channelized canals, and retention ponds—common features of stormwater management systems throughout Florida. Snook and other recreationally important fishes have been found in some stormwater canals of the upper Phillippi Creek system, according to research surveys by Mote Staff Scientists Dr. Jim Locascio and Dr. Nate Brennan.
Now, Mote’s Fisheries Ecology & Enhancement team with Staff Scientist Dr. Ryan Schloesser is working to deepen knowledge of how well certain areas of the canal systems support juvenile snook and ultimately “export” these popular sportfish into Phillippi Creek, where they can continue growing before entering Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico fishery. Snook normally start their lives in shallow, sheltered, backwater habitats with plenty of vegetation. Can local stormwater canals better function like those natural nursery habitats and provide these fish shelter and safe passage into their next stage of life?