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Tampa Bay Water Atlas

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Hillsborough Bay

Hillsborough Bay

Hillsborough Bay


located within the following watersheds: Middle Tampa Bay Watershed, Hillsborough Bay Watershed


In addition to fisheries-independent and fisheries-dependent study results, find valuable information about endangered species, wild stock enhancement and other conservation measures related to fish, aquatic mammals and other aquatic wildlife.

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Map Legend

Water Quality sampling site
Hydrology sampling site
Closest Rainfall site
Rainfall sampling site
Multi-type sampling site
Other sampling site


The Florida manatee, or sea cow (Trichechus manatus latirostris), a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), is a large, herbivorous, aquatic mammal that can be found in the shallow coastal waters, rivers, and springs of Florida and adjoining states. These gentle creatures are endangered throughout their range. High annual mortality, primarily associated with human activity, as well as a low reproductive rate and loss of habitat continue to keep the number of manatees low and threaten the species' future. Learn more about manatees »

Manatee Aerial Survey Information: Total Manatees Counted per Year in Hillsborough Bay Compared to the Total of All Bays

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Source(s): Mote Marine Laboratory

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    Some common birds in this region that you might see include - Great Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, White Ibis, Brown Pelican, Osprey, Wood Stork, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Bald Eagles and the threatened Florida Scrub-jay.

    Audubon Christmas Bird Count Data for Water Dependent, Threatened, and Endangered Birds

    More than 50,000 observers participate each year in this all-day census of early-winter bird populations. The results of their efforts are compiled into the longest running database in ornithology, representing over a century of unbroken data on trends of early-winter bird populations across the Americas. Simply put, the Christmas Bird Count, or "CBC", is citizen science in action.

    The table below demonstrates the average number of birds seen per hour of effort put forth to view them. The historic average is the average of the total number of birds seen per hour of effort divided by the number of years listed in the brackets.
    Species Name Listing Alafia Banks QuadrangleTampa Quadrangle
    2011 - 2012 ResultsHistoric Average2011 - 2012 ResultsHistoric Average
    American Oystercatcher SSC 0.32 0.32 (1 yrs) 0.13 0.13 (1 yrs)
    Bald Eagle T 0.14 0.14 (1 yrs) 0.16 0.16 (1 yrs)
    Black Skimmer SSC 0.45 0.45 (1 yrs)    
    Brown Pelican SSC 3.05 3.05 (1 yrs) 0.82 0.82 (1 yrs)
    Florida Scrub-jay T 0.01 0.01 (1 yrs)    
    Little Blue Heron SSC 0.68 0.68 (1 yrs) 3.43 3.43 (1 yrs)
    Peregrine Falcon T 0.01 0.01 (1 yrs)    
    Reddish Egret SSC 0.06 0.06 (1 yrs) 0.03 0.03 (1 yrs)
    Snowy Plover T        
    Tricolored Heron SSC 0.79 0.79 (1 yrs) 1.63 1.63 (1 yrs)
    White Ibis SSC 12.42 12.42 (1 yrs) 22.84 22.84 (1 yrs)
    Wood Stork E 1.24 1.24 (1 yrs) 0.82 0.82 (1 yrs)
    * Threatened (T), Endangered (E) and Species of Special Concern (SSC) status as listed by the State of Florida.

    Source: National Audubon Society

    Florida's Breeding Bird Atlas

    This site provides access to the Florida Breeding Bird Atlas data recorded by volunteers from 1986 - 1991. The surveys occurred in all 67 counties which were divided into 1028, 7.5 minutes topographic quadrangles. Each quadrangle was further divided into 6 (2 wide by 3 tall) equal-sized blocks of about 10 miles2 of which about 75% (4,866) were surveyed. For each species, a breeding code indicating the "highest" breeding evidence was recorded.

      Fisheries Independent Monitoring

      Visual Surveys are used to estimate relative abundance and to monitor the size and class distribution of important fish species. The Fisheries-Independent Monitoring program (FIM) conducts stratified-random sampling to estimate fish abundance and population trends in seven regions around Florida. Visit the FIM site (below) to learn how studies are performed and what they reveal, learn more about fish species, and see images of these species. Learn More about Fisheries Independent Monitoring »

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        Fisheries Dependent Monitoring

        Fishery-dependent data, collected directly from people who harvest aquatic species, is used to monitor harvest rates and assess the health of exploited fish and invertebrate populations. Learn More about Fisheries Dependent Monitoring »

        Commercial Fisheries Landings in Florida

        Commercial fisheries include any species that are harvested and sold for human consumption, for medical use, in aquarium or souvenir trades, or for any other for-profit purpose. The state of Florida collects data from commercial harvesters and dealers to generate statistics on the types of species and quantities landed as well as the size, weight, and age distribution of harvested species.

        CountyFin FishInvertebratesFood ShrimpBait ShrimpGrand Total
        Indian River848,4933,0336,46671000000
        Palm Beach2,086,3258,25753,3204791,54780000
        Santa Rosa92,63224927,2784333,0092241100

        Source: Commercial Landings Data

        Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey

        The Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS) was developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to monitor recreational fisheries. The MRFSS is designed to collect a variety of data in order to estimate catch, harvest, and fishing effort.

        Species 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
        SPOT 64 18.8 114.2 73.3 59.1
        RED DRUM 35.5 53.3 69 112.9 40.3
        WEAKFISH 82.1 92.9 34.9 30.5 129
        BLACK DRUM 50.6 74.8 67.4 70.2 72.9
        FLORIDA POMPANO 79.5 76.3 67.7 84.7 27.5
        GREATER AMBERJACK 43.9 21.2 28.9 25.8 30
        MULLETS 112.6 149 131.3 33.9 45
        SHEEPSHEAD 90.3 64.9 19.7 91.5 78.1
        BLUEFISH 38.3 36.3 51.1 42.8 46
        DOLPHINS 140.5 73.7 75 108.7 75
        RED SNAPPER 22.8 25.4 22 24.8 30.8
        VERMILION SNAPPER 90.7 88.6 99.5 101.2 32.6
        YELLOWTAIL SNAPPER 65.4 75.7 65.1 55.8 60.5
        SALTWATER CATFISHES 31.4 37.5 102.4 42.7 35.2
        GULF FLOUNDER 40.7 38.4 65.4 40.7 24.8
        SUMMER FLOUNDER 25.2 30.3 27.6 31.5 38.3
        SOUTHERN FLOUNDER 17.8 19.6 18.6 19 82.9
        BLACK SEA BASS 56.5 47.9 51.3 63.8 68.5
        EPINEPHELUS GROUPERS 73 49.3 69 105.7 101
        MYCTEROPERCA GROUPERS 25.1 96 22.1 23.7 23.8
        STRIPED BASS 51.8 80.4 30.4 131.5 34.5
        KING MACKEREL 48.2 39.2 64.6 168.6 165.4
        SPANISH MACKEREL 78.6 42 64.1 55.9 104.7
        ATLANTIC MACKEREL 101.9 57.2 36.7 67.5 18.2
        SKATES/RAYS 147.8 208.5 152.1 74.4 189.3
        OTHER SHARKS 154.5 74.5 30.7 113.1 104.2

        Source: Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics

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          Other Fisheries Information

          The Tampa Bay coast supports a wide array of fish and crustaceans such as Red Drum, Spotted Seatrout, Snook, Flounder, Blue Crab, Pompano, Mullet, Stone Crab and Shrimp. More than 80 percent of the fish we catch for food or fun depend on estuaries for all or part of their lives. Learn more about fisheries. »

          Species Information for Common Fish Caught on Florida's West Coast

          Information from FWRI about commercially and recreational important finfish. Includes: stock assessments, species accounts, regulations, and other research studies.

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