Friday, March 16, 2012

A Busy New Year for the Great Marlin Race

The past several months have witnessed some amazing outcomes for the Great Marlin Race (GMR) program, and 2012 is getting off to a fantastic start as well! Perhaps the highlight of 2011 was establishing a collaboration with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). After seeing the success we had in 2009 and 2010 at the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT), IGFA Board Chairman Paxson Offield, IGFA President Rob Kramer and IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser approached us with the idea of taking the Great Marlin Race to the next level – with a goal of running GMR events at 5 different interntional tournaments in the 2011-2012 season.

The 2011 HIBT GMR was the best ever, with ten tags sponsored very early on in the tournament. As happened in 2009, several of the tagged marlin headed southeast from Hawaii, with two of them passing all the way into the southern hemisphere. The winning marlin, sponsored by West Marine, reported from a point 2,188 nautical miles away from where it was tagged.

The inaugural IGFA Great Marlin Race event happened at the Club de Nautico de San Juan’s 58th Annual International Billfish Tournament on September 5-11. Because of inclement weather, only six tags were deployed during the tournament. Over the following 4 months, five of them reported from within 600 nautical miles of where they were tagged, scattered from the North Coast of Venezuela to a point 589 miles east-southeast of Puerto Rico. On January 5, 2012 – exactly 120 days after it was deployed—the final tag popped off and began transmitting information. The 575-pound blue marlin had traveled southeast some 4,776 nm from where it was tagged and crossed the equator to have its tag pop off near the coast of Angola, Africa.

We also ran a “Blacks vs. Blues” event at the 25th Black Marlin Classic at Lizard Island Australia, where five tags were deployed on black marlin over two weeks in early October – including three on giant girls over 850 pounds! Three of the tags reported from within 350 nautical miles of Lizard Island, but two of them traveled nearly all the way past Phoenix Island – winding up 2,325 and 2,739 nautical miles away!

2012 is getting off to a busy start, with six tags sponsored at the South African Deep Sea Angling Association Classic February 22-25, and ten more going out at the Gamex and AIBT tournaments in Exmouth Australia, starting March 10 and running through the 23rd. More information about these events can be found on the IGFA website:

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