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The Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus) is one of 20 species in the marine jack family (Carangidae) and considered excellent eating. Though as larvae they often live offshore, adults inhabit coastal areas along the western coast of the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, especially in turbid waters; they are usually absent from the Bahamas and other clear-water regions. This species prefers water temperatures between 17-32 degrees Centigrade, and migrates south into warmer waters and in the gulf of Mexico in winter months. Pompanos are rapidly growing fish. They are typically caught at sizes of 2-5 pound but can reach 9 pounds. Adults form fast-swimming schools that inhabit surf flats, grazing on small bottom-dwelling invertebrates, including bivalves, copepods, crab larvae and invertebrate eggs. Caught commercially in all southern states, T. carolinus is an especially important commercial species in Florida, where it makes up to 90% of commercial harvests, and fetches one of the highest prices of any fish. It is also a popular recreational fishery. Florida pompano is seasonally abundant, but The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) considers populations on the Atlantic coast of Florida overfished and of high conservation concern, and populations on the Gulf of Mexico coast of Florida of moderate concern. Because it is fast growing and a good food fish, Florida pompano is recognized as having great potential as an aquaculture species; research on culturing techniques and water recycling methods to increase production of warm-water fish are underway.

(Cufone and Ostdahl 2005; Froese and Pauly 2000; Mote Marine Laboratories; Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce; Wikipedia 2012)

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