Tidal creeks, like Phillippi Creek, provide important shelter and food resources for fish like snook, especially young fish. Over the last few years, Mote Marine Laboratory and Sarasota County have been working together to track the behavior of snook in Phillippi Creek in an effort to better understand the role the creek plays in the life cycle of these important recreational fish. 

This past month, researchers installed a new antenna near Levee Park that will pick up signals from Passive Integrated Transponders (or PIT tags). As snook swim into the vicinity of an antenna, their presence is detected and recorded, telling scientists how much time fish spend in each habitat type. Scientists can use this information to better understand snook habitat preferences and survival. 

Phillippi Creek has over 100 miles of canals, many of which were created to carry stormwater out into Sarasota Bay. One of the emerging trends the in management of these waterways is the idea of not only monitoring water quality, but also finding opportunities to promote fish and wildlife habitat as part of the overall health of the creek. The hope is that this research will shed light on how stormwater canals could be redesigned to mimic natural habitats preferred by fish like snook to further enhance downstream fisheries.          

Fun Facts About Fish in Phillippi Creek

  • 45 different species of fish live and use Phillippi Creek including snook, bass, Florida gar, and herring.

  • Baby snook are up to 36 times more dense in Phillippi Creek than in Sarasota Bay.

  • Snook range from the mouth of Phillippi Creek up to the Celery Fields.

  • Riverview High School students are raising snook in their aquaculture facility to be tagged and released as part of the monitoring efforts in Phillippi Creek.

Photo Credit: Mote Marine Laboratory