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Sea Stats - Pompano & Permit

Sea Stats - Pompano & Permit

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These fast-swimming coastal fishes are a challenge to catch and, as a result, are coveted by Florida recreational anglers; the pompano has the added enticement of being a popular dinner entree. The two species are remarkably similar in appearance but very different in size as adults.

This brochures discusses pompano and permit and includes information on appearance, range and habitat, life history, and current research efforts. Also included is a handy table to help aid in telling these two species apart.

For additional information visit http://myfwc.com/research/
These fast-swimming coastal fishes are a challenge to catch and, as a result, are coveted by Florida recreational anglers; the pompano has the added enticement of being a popular dinner entree. The two species are remarkably similar in appearance but very different in size as adults.

This brochures discusses pompano and permit and includes information on appearance, range and habitat, life history, and current research efforts. Also included is a handy table to help aid in telling these two species apart.

For additional information visit http://myfwc.com/research/

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12/15/2011

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T
hese ast-swimming coastalshes are a challenge to catch,making them coveted by Floridaanglers, and have the addedenticement o being popular dinnerentrees. The two species areremarkably similar in appearancebut very dierent in size asadults—a situation that conusesmany anglers who, thinking theyhave reeled in a world-record-size pompano, aresurprised to learn that they have actually hooked apermit, and a small one at that.
Description
Pompano and permit are members o the jack amily,
Carangidae
, which includes about 140 speciesworldwide. Jacks are characterized by their silvery,thin bodies and deeply orked tail ns. Many haveelongated dorsal ns. Florida relatives o the pompanoand permit include palometa, crevalle jack, yellowjack, lookdown, amberjack, and a variety o scads.Although similar in appearance, adult pompanoand permit can be distinguished rom each other bytheir size. Pompano rarely grow larger than sevenpounds, whereas permit weighing 40 pounds arecommon. The body o a juvenilepermit is deeper than that o apompano o similar length; also,the ns o the juvenile permit maybe orange, whereas a pompano’sare yellow. As permit grow, theirbody depth decreases in relationto their length, and n colorationchanges rom orange to yellow,making them look like hugepompano. The best way to distinguish between thesespecies is to count the dorsal and anal n rays.Pompano have more (see table on page 2).Florida pompano (
Trachinotus carolinus
) have adeep, thin, silvery body with a greenish-gray back,which slopes gradually to a rounded head with a bluntsnout and small mouth. In dark waters, pompano mayhave a gold tinge on the throat, belly, and ns. Six shortspines are located in ront o an elongated dorsal n,which is set low on the sh’s back and is matched bya slightly shorter anal n underneath. The rst ew sotrays o these ns are elongated, ollowed by a narrowband o sot rays that lead to the deeply orked V-shapedtail. The dorsal n has 22 to 27 sot rays; the anal nhas 20 to 23 rays. Florida pompano may reach 25inches and 9 pounds.The body o the permit (
Trachinotus falcatus
) is
Scientific name
Trachinotus carolinus
and
Trachinotus falcatus
Size
Pompano to 25 inches and 9 pounds; permit to 59 inches and 60 pounds
Range
Tropical and warm-temperate seas rom Massachusetts to Brazil
Status
The State imposes bag and size limits on catches o Florida pompano andpermit.
POMPANO& PERMIT
Quick, Silver Duo
Fish and Wildlife Research InstituteFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
 
silvery, with a dark or iridescent blue back. In darkwaters, orange or even golden tints on larger specimensmay be visible around the breast. The dorsal n o thepermit has 17 to 21 rays; the anal n has 16 to 19 rays.Many adult permit have a large circular black splotchon their sides, behind the base o the pectoral n.Permit may grow to 59 inches and 60 pounds.Both pompano and permit have distinctive platesat the back o the mouth that help them crush thehard-shelled crustaceans and mollusks they eat. Asjuveniles, permit also have small teeth on the tongue,but pompano do not.
Range and Habitat
Pompano and permit inhabit tropical and warm-temperate seas. While rare north o Chesapeake Bay,both can be ound rom Massachusetts to Argentina,although the pompano is absent rom the clear waterso the Bahamas and some Caribbean islands.Pompano are coastal sh and are generally oundin schools along sandy beaches, around inlets, and inbrackish bays and estuaries, where they inhabit oysterbars and seagrass beds. They can tolerate a widerange o environmental variables, including cooltemperatures, low dissolved-oxygen levels, and lowsalinities—as long as the changes occur gradually.Although typically a shallow-water species caughtalong every coastal county in Florida, they have beenound in waters up to 130 eet deep.Permit are ound oshore over wrecks, oil platorms,and articial rees and inshore on grass and sand fats,in deep channels, and in holes. They are commonlythought o as a popular species encountered on thefats in south Florida and the Keys, but specimens havebeen caught by recreational anglers in most coastalcounties; they are absent only in the Panhandle.Both pompano and permit migrate. Pompanoappear to move north in the spring and south in thewinter, as refected in the spring and all “run” observed
2
PompanoPermit
D.R. PeeblesD.R. Peebles
Common to 6 pounds; may reach 9 poundsFish in dark waters show yellow on throat, pelvicand anal fns22 to 27 sot rays in dorsal fn20 to 23 sot rays in anal fnHave no teeth on tongue at any sizeUp to 18" ork length, 25" total lengthState record: 8 pounds, 4 ounces (1999)Common to 40 pounds; may reach 60 poundsFish in dark waters show orange or golden tintsaround breast and anal fn17 to 21 sot rays in dorsal fn16 to 19 sot rays in anal fnSmall permit have teeth on tongueUp to 48" ork length, 59" total lengthState record: 56 pounds, 2 ounces (1997)Fork Length
: to rear center edge o taildorsal nanal npelvic n
 
3
in the shery. This migration may be in response tochanges in water temperature. However, the movementmay in act be west to east, because pompano beginto show up in the spring in southwest Florida at thesame time they show up in the Panhandle. In somecoastal counties, pompano can be ound year-round.Permit are ound in north and central Florida in thewarmer months and are ound in south Floridathroughout the year. Further details o their migratorymovements are unknown.
Life History
Much more inormation has been gathered on the liecycle o pompano than on that o permit, probablybecause pompano has been a species o interest toaquaculturists as a ood product. However, manyunanswered questions remain regarding the biologyand behavior o both species.Pompano are believed to spawn in oshore watersrom spring through all, with a peak in April and Mayand a smaller peak in September. In the Keys, spawningmay occur all year, as small pompano can be observedin the sur zone year-round. Along the Atlantic coast,they apparently spawn near the Gul Stream. Femalepompano are estimated to produce rom 133,000 to800,000 eggs per season. Along the Gul coast,pompano larvae have been collected rom 5 to 15 milesoshore o Tampa Bay.How long pompano remain in their larval stage isunknown, as is the mechanism by which they reachnursery areas. Scientists do know that the larvae moveinto waters along sandy beaches, usually into the surzone. They remain in the turbid sur zone until theyare about 5 to 6 inches long, and then move away romthe sur zone. Although some schools o palm-sizedpompano have been observed in the mouths oestuaries in the all, generally all have moved out othe sur zone by late all. Juvenile pompano grow aboutan inch a month, usually reaching a length o 10 or 11inches by their rst birthday.Both male and emale pompano reach sexualmaturity at about one year o age; however, someemales may not be sexually mature until they arethree years old. Females are slightly larger than maleso the same age. The maximum age documented or apompano in Florida is seven years.Juvenile pompano orage on burrowing worms,insect larvae, and coquina clams. Adults eat a varietyo mollusks and crustaceans as well as smaller sh.Adult and juvenile permit consume a diet similar tothat o pompano: adults eat mollusks and crabs, andjuveniles eat benthic invertebrates such as worms andmollusks.Permit, both males and emales, mature at aboutthree years and, at that time, are about 19 to 21.5inches long. Growth is rapid until age ve (about 25inches) and then slows. Spawning occurs primarily inlate spring but continues throughout summer and intoall. Permit spawn over ree promontories and articialrees in deeper water. Studies o daily otolith ringsshow that ater permit eggs hatch, the larvae remainin the open water or 15 to 18 days beore settling intothe primary nursery areas o shallow, sandy beachhabitats o the gul, ocean and bays. Like pompano,they disappear rom the beach nurseries at lengths oabout 8 inches.In one o the ew studies o adult permit romTampa Bay and the Florida Keys, the oldest individualwas 23 years o age; the longest was 35 inches. Permitcan grow to nearly 59 inches long, so this sampleprobably underestimates their lie expectancy.
Economic Importance
Pompano are a lucrative target or commercialshermen. Commercial landings exceeded 600,000pounds in 1994 but dropped by nearly 40%, to 387,000pounds, in 1995—the rst year o a ban on the use oentangling-type nets within three miles o shore onthe gul coast and one mile on the Atlantic coast.Landings increased again in 1997 and 1998 to pre-net-limitation numbers; but in the 2000s, commerciallandings have fuctuated and have not reached theharvest totals seen beore the net ban.While commercial landings have been decreasing,recreational harvests have been increasing. Recreationalanglers landed 500,000 pounds o pompano in 2008,up rom the 32,000 to 142,000 pounds per yearreported by anglers in the 1980s. Harvest estimatesrom the 1980s are considered less reliable, mainlybecause a relatively small number o recreationalangler interviews were conducted.In the late 1990s, recognizing the need or additional

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