The Mote Boca-Grande Partnership

Dr. Eugenie Clark, founding director of the research station that is today Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, opened the doors of the Cape Haze Marine Lab — as it was known back then — in 1955.

Since then, we have been dedicated to preserving our oceans and the sustainability of the animals that call them home. Our scientists are known worldwide for their achievements in marine research — research that is helping us preserve ocean resources for future generations.

And we got our start in Charlotte Harbor —one of the deepest natural inlets in Florida and the center of tarpon reproduction and a way station for the tarpon that make up this famous fishery.

In 2013, Mote returned to our historical home with the goal of reinvigorating our partnership with the community to conserve and protect this famous estuary. We believe that strong science-based conservation programs will play a critical role in preventing further decline in the Harbor’s health and in sustaining and restoring historical fish populations.

Visit our Boca Grande office to learn more about our initiatives in Charlotte Harbor:

480 East Railroad Ave., Railroad Plaza, Boca Grande. Office hours vary by season. Please feel free to contact us at bocagrande@mote.org or 941-855-9251.

Initiatives

Building upon Mote’s historic ties to the Boca Grande community, we created the Mote-Boca Grande Partnership to make a significant difference on five key areas:

  • Tarpon: Protecting them requires understanding what habitats they need to survive and how they respond to changes in fishing pressure and river flows.
  • Snook: Our research suggests that populations are localized and can be greatly affected by small-scale habitat changes that we need to better understand.
  • Restocking: Our research programs seek to develop restocking technology that we can use to restore the keystone snook and tarpon species.
  • Sharks: Sharks and tarpon depend on a balance between predator and prey, and we need to learn how to address the decline in shark populations so that Boca fisheries can thrive.
  • Red tide: From ecological and human health concerns to economic disturbances, our research seeks to lessen the impacts of red tide on Florida communities like Boca Grande.