Tagging of Pelagic Predators

Whale shark

Great Marlin Race 2010 A Success

The Great Marlin Race is a collaborative billfish research program involving research scientists working literally side-by-side with tournament billfish anglers, captains and boat crews to explore the hidden lives of these amazing fish.  This concept was born in 2009, through a long-standing partnership between Stanford University Professor Barbara Block and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT), where some of the initial development of these electronic tags was done back in the mid-1990’s. For the past two years, HIBT angling teams were offered the chance to sponsor electronic tags to be deployed during the 5-day tournament. Each tag was programmed to pop off after 120-180 days, and the fish that had traveled the farthest during that time would be declared the winner.

Great Marlin Race map

The results from the first Great Marlin Race were remarkable, with three of the five marlin whose tags reported having traveled all the way to the southern hemisphere, winding up in the vicnity of the Marquesas Islands.   In 2010, nine of the ten tags deployed eventually reported.  What was most striking this year was the diversity of behaviors exhibited - with one marlin going almost due south, another due east, several going southeast, and one remaining resident in Hawaii!

Building on the success of these first two years, the Stanford research team is now teaming up with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) to launch a global billfish research program - working with tournaments and anglers worldwide to learn more about billfish migration and behavior.

To learn more, visit the Great Marlin Race website.

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