ADOPT-A-BILLFISH MOROCCO TAGGING PROJECT:
We are happy to share with you the results of the Adopt-A-Billfish tagging trip to Morocco! Fishing aboard Laurent Sahyoun's El Matador with Capt. Marco Canu the anglers, Kim Hermanowski, Bill Pino, Fernando Aleixo Duarte and Joan Vernon put PSAT tags into 13 white marlin. Each fish was tagged with a PSAT tag, a Billfish Foundation tag and a DNA sample was taken. The tags are set to pop up in 210 days. A big thank you to Eric Orbesen and Derke Snodgrass, fishery biologists with NOAA, Miami, for doing a great job of tagging our fish. Thanks go out to Squidnation (Bill Pino) for creating the magic dredges and teasers used to raise the marlin!
The water off of Mohammedia is well known for many world record white marlin on conventional and fly tackle. It will be interesting to see where these animals go once past Morocco. On behalf of the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation we thank all involved in this ambitious PSAT tagging project. Photos of the trip are posted on our website, www.preschallenge.com [Photos of this trip are posted in the Photo Gallery]
You just tagged and released a marlin, sailfish, or swordfish. Ever wonder where that billfish will go, what route it took to get there, and what its ultimate fate will be? So do the scientists who are trying to determine the condition of, and connections among, billfish stocks and fisheries around the globe. Historically, 50 - 80% of what is known about our fisheries for billfish comes from traditional tagging data, but so much more is unknown. Because traditional tagging methods require the fish to be recaptured, the chance of ever hearing again about a given tagged billfish is about one in a hundred. Thanks to recent developments in electronic fish tags, that’s changing.
The technology that’s making a big splash in billfish research is the “pop-up” satellite archival tag (PSAT). These tags are actually 5"-long, computer-controlled sensors that can be programmed to measure and store water temperature, depth and light-based location data every minute. After a pre-determined time period (researchers can program the tag to sample from less than a day to over a year), the tags detach from the fish and float to the surface where they transmit their stored information to the Argos satellite system (Figure 1). The collected data are then provided to the researcher via email. The beauty of this technology is that it provides intimate details of the life of individual billfish in their natural environment without requiring researchers or anglers to physically retrieve the tags from the fish or from the ocean. This new tool holds great promise for ultimately providing more specific types of data that will assist in management, conservation, and rebuilding of billfish resources around the globe.
In 2023 our scientists will be traveling to Mohammadia, Morocco, to tag white marlin. It has long been a mystery where this specie goes after passing through the Moroccan waters. We hope to deploy at least ten tags in the migrating white marlin.
The concept behind the Adopt-A-Billfish program is to enlist the help of billfish anglers who are not only interested in learning more about the billfish that they pursue, but who also want to play an important role in ensuring their stocks are healthy for future generations. The world’s billfish populations generally are not in good shape, especially in the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic sailfish, blue marlin and white marlin stocks are currently a fraction of their historical sizes and are continuing to decline. In fact, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) lists Atlantic blue andwhite marlin as “over-fished”. In addition, Atlantic swordfish had previously been overfished but is now showing signs of rebuilding. This problem is likely not limited to the Atlantic Ocean – information on billfish movement in the Pacific and Indian Oceans are particularly scarce and its important to obtain data from these ocean basins as well. The major threats to the world’s marlin, sailfish and swordfish stocks stem from the fact that these species are either targeted, or unintentionally caught as “bycatch” by the multi-national offshore longline fisheries that supply tuna and swordfish for the global market. With the kind of data that pop-up satellite tags provide, we can let the fish themselves point to ways of reducing unnecessary lethal interactions with man. With pop-up tag data, we can form the basis for devising ways to reduce the “overlap” (in time and in space) between the commercial fisheries and the habitats that billfish have relied on to spawn, grow to maturity and feed for hundreds of thousands of years. Scientists are just now starting to appreciate the different applications of PSAT technology to address billfish research topics, including assessing the ultimate fate of animals released after being captured using various fishing methods, hook-types, and baits-.
HOW TO HELP
If you want to be a part of the solution, you can help in one of two ways: (1) adopt a sailfish, marlin, or swordfish by picking up the cost of one or more pop-up satellite tags ($4,000 US each) for scientists to deploy; and/or (2) donate your offshore fishing vessel for deployment of these tags. These donations will go directly to the purchase, testing, programming and deployment of satellite tags, when and where information is needed most. Throughout the world, private foundations, recreational fishing organizations, and individual anglers are increasingly becoming aware of the critical need for detailed data on the biology of these valuable, unique, yet vulnerable fish stocks.
The Adopt-A-Billfish PSAT tagging program is being coordinated by a team of experienced scientists who work with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Southeast and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers (Miami, FL., La Jolla, CA), The Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation is the coordinator of the tagging operations. Past projects include tagging in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, including the waters off South Florida, North Carolina, the Bahamas, Bermuda, West Africa, Cape Verde and Aruba. In the Pacific, we have concluded tagging projects in Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
TAX STATUS OF ALL DONATIONS
All donations involving sponsorship of tags will be handled by the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 charitable corporation. All donors contributing to Adopt-A-Billfish will be provided a letter documenting their tax-deductible gift, from the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation, Inc. In addition, participants in Adopt-A-Billfish will also receive timely updates of research results.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more detailed information on how you can participate in Adopt-A-Billfish, contact the Joan Vernon, The Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation, Inc. - (305)904-4678.
The Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation, Inc. is an independent not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free (800-435-7352) within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state." CH # 24910
THE PREMIER SPORTFISHING CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS. DEDICATED TO THE CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF BILLFISH AND INSHORE GAMEFISH.
COSTA RICA: A STUDY IN SPORTFISHING SUCCESS
When it comes to fisheries management and conservation, recreational interests have long been at odds with the commercial side, due in no small part to the lack of specific dollar amounts: everyone knows that sportfishing is economically important, but no one has been able to pinpoint just how big that number may be.
Until now, that is. The Billfish Foundation recently released its preliminary results on the economic impacts of sportfishing in Costa Rica as the result of a socio-economic study conducted there. And quite honestly, the numbers are staggering.
Perhaps the one that stands out the most is the amount of U.S. Dollars spent by North American tourists to fish in these waters—Americans spent a whopping $321.5 million in 2009 alone, with Canadians adding another $7.6 million, for a total of $329.1 million. Sportfishing adds some $599 million to the country's Gross Domestic Product and increases consumption of products and services by 5.8 percent. The study even details expenditures all the way through the economy, from charter trips to ice, bait and fuel sales.
This information is of vital importance when discussing the impact and importance of sportfishing in Costa Rica, as now there is sufficient scientific information on the value of recreational fishing to battle the real threats to the area's marlin and sailfish populations.
PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
TEAMS UP WITH
THE BILLFISH FOUNDATION & HOTEL PALMAS DE CORTEZ(East Cape, Baja)
TO PRODUCE CATCH & RELEASE INFORMATION CARDS
ADOPT-A-WHITE MARLIN PROGRAM
This past summer, with the help of writer Gary Graham, the groups named above produced a card which charter captains can hand out to their clients explaining why we practice catch and release with billfish. These cards are very handy in countries where crews speak limited English as they clearly address the process and reason for safe catch and release. If you are interested in working with the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation to produce these cards for your area please contact us. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Billfish Foundation Announces Plans To Conduct Critical White Marlin Research
August 14, 2008: The Billfish Foundation in cooperation with the South East Fisheries Science Center (Miami, FL) will conduct a satellite tagging project off the coasts of North Carolina and Maryland in early September. "White marlin are the most overfished of any of the highly migratory fish in the Atlantic", says Ellen Peel, President of TBF. The U.S. government is considering placing White Marlin on the Endangered Species list which would strike a deadly blow to sport fishing in the U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This research will be lead by Dr. Eric Prince and his associates. The first research goal is to deploy 20 satellite tags on white marlin during the September tagging trips. Funding is needed in order to purchase the tags needed to complete this project. Each tag costs $4,000.00. Contributions are tax deductible. For further information how you, your company or club can give financial assistance please contact Joan Vernon - (305) 361-9258.
ALL FOUR EAST CAPE TAGS PLACED IN SAILFISH
POPPED UP ON SCHEDULE
PHOTO - PSAT TAG IN BLUE MARLIN
MAY 1, 2007: It is very rare that a PSAT tag is retrieved after it is set free from the animal. Dr. Eric Prince was thrilled when he received word that one of our Mexican PSAT tags was discovered on a beach near Acapulco! When analyzed, the data contained in the tag will be extremely valuable to our scientific purposes.
DECEMBER 21, 2006: Dr. Eric Prince has informed us that all four PSAT tags placed in sailfish during our East Cape trip have popped up on schedule. We hope to have some initial data to post on this web site next week.
August 25, 2006: The Adopt-A-Billfish Program began Phase Two of research with a successful satellite tagging trip to East Cape, Baja California de Sur, Mexico, August 8-9-10, 2006. Our team of scientists included Dr. Eric Prince, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Dr. Oscar Sosa Nishizaki from the Laboratorio de Ecologia Pesquera, CICESE in Ensenada, Mexico, and Dr. Rogelio Gonzalez Armas from the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, IPN, in La Paz, Mexico.
Drs. Prince, Sosa, and Armas were able to deploy all 4 pop up satellite archival tags (PSAT) on sailfish off East Cape. However, fishing for sailfish was rather slow compared to red hot fishing for striped marlin as well as blue marlin. In addition, the sailfish were on the small side, averaging 40 pounds or less. Each PSAT tag was programmed to pop up at 120 days, so the data on these fish will not be available to scientist for about four months, unless some of the tags come off prematurely. The research team did complete 6 tows with plankton nets to catch sailfish larvae. The scientists did observe some fish larvae in the samples but positive identification as to species will take some time to complete. No dead sailfish were observed at the resort, so plans are being made by Dr. Sosa to have one of his student interns collect some gonad samples off Mazatlan (to document sailfish spawning activity) before the summer spawning season ends.
The crew fished for two days aboard the ‘Go Fisch’ with Chris Fischer, host of the popular ESPN show, Offshore Adventures. Chris is a board member of The Billfish Foundation and was joined by fellow TBF board member, Joan Vernon, and consultant to TBF, Dr. Russell Nelson and Kim Amendola, NOAA Fisheries, St. Petersburg, FL. IGFA Representative from Mexico City, Monty Padilla, was on hand to help with the fishing. The first sailfish to be tagged was caught by Chris using a live bait with a circle hook. This fish was tagged with a PSAT tag, a conventional NOAA tag and released in good condition.
The Adopt-A-Billfish Program has always been a cooperative effort between the scientific staff and the local fishermen. Prior to our arrival Jesus ‘Chuy’ Valdez, owner of Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort and local IGFA Representative, spread the word that we would be in the area tagging sailfish. The second day of fishing the group was happy to hear that a guest of our host hotel had hooked a sailfish and was close enough to the Go Fisch to hand off the catch. Our tagging crew successfully implanted the PSAT tag and NOAA tag in the animal prior to a good, healthy release. The next animal to be tagged was caught by a local resident, Woody Sale, who called on the radio and reported the hook up. The Go Fisch ran over to his boat and a successful transfer and tag was made.
The final day the tagging group divided up on two of the Hotel Buena Vista boats to hunt for the last sailfish to be tagged. In the early afternoon Joan Vernon hooked up with a sailfish using a ballyhoo and a circle hook. The scientists were nearby and were able get to make the transfer and tag the fourth and final fish which was released in perfect condition.
An added feature to this trip was the participation of Sammy Baires, mate on the well known Guatemalan charter boat, Captain Hook. Funds contributed from the Presidential Challenge of Central America Conservation series were used to fly him to East Cape to help spread the circle hook message. Sammy was on hand to instruct the local boat crews to properly rig circle hooks. Eagle Claw donated 500 circle hooks to this cause. His instructions in Spanish on rigging were filmed by the crew from Offshore Adventures and will be available for distribution through The Billfish Foundation.
The funding for the Adopt-A-Billfish Program is all from private sources. We thank the Presidential Challenge of Central America and their partner in conservation, Costa Del Mar, for funding the travel arrangements for the entire tagging crew. Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort illustrated their commitment to conservation, catch and release fishing and the use of circle hooks by donating hotel rooms and boat time for the crew.
We particularly thank our tag sponsors for making this trip possible. The generosity of the following organizations is an example of their dedication to the conservation of billfish. They made possible our research that will help in the management of billfish stocks in the future: Sperry Top-Sider, Costa Del Mar, Yamaha Motors, The Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament, Hotel Buena Vista Resort & Spa, The Presidential Challenge of Central America, The Billfish Foundation and the International Game Fish Association.
July 27, 2006: We are pleased to announce that the Adopt-A-Billfish Program in the eastern tropical Pacific will begin Phase II of our satellite tagging program this summer. Our team of scientists led by Dr. Eric Prince, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center, will travel to East Cape, Baja California de Sur, Mexico, to begin tagging sailfish on August 8, 2006. Dr. Prince will be joined by Dr. Oscar Sosa Nishizaki from the Laboratorio de Ecologia Pesquera, CICESE in Ensenada, Mexico, and Dr. Rogelio González Armas from the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, IPN, in La Paz, Mexico. Other NOAA Fisheries Scientists from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center will also be participating in the project.
According to Dr. Prince, the tagging team will work with recreational anglers to capture pacific sailfish using standard fishing techniques (trolled ballyhoo rigged with circle hooks and high speed lures). The travel arrangements and fund raising is a joint effort between The Presidential Challenge Conservation Series and their partner in conservation, Costa Del Mar. The funding for this project is a cooperative effort between Sperry Topsider, Yamaha Motors and The Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament. Our host for the week in East Cape is Hotel Buena Vista Beach Resort who is graciously donating accommodations and boat time to the group. It is due to businesses such as the above that this vital tagging mission is possible. The program is also assisted by The Billfish Foundation and The International Game Fish Association.
This Adopt-A-Billfish Project involves analyzing essential fish habitat of east Pacific sailfish. This species is supposed to spawn in the area of East Cape, Mexico, during the summer months and sustains a tremendous recreational fishery in this area. Dr. Oscar Sosa maintains that sailfish in the general area of East Cape are larger on average than in other parts of the Pacific side of Central America and represent the spawning population. This project proposes to deploy popup satellite archival tags (PSATs) on these sailfish and monitor their movement activity during the suspected spawning season.
In addition, Dr. Prince and Dr. González plan to use plankton nets to sample larval sailfish in the same area where they are tagging the adults. They will also try to obtain gonad samples from larger females caught in order to conduct histological analysis of the eggs to establish a firm basis for the fish spawning in this area.
GEOGRAPHICAL TARGET AREA: Sea of Cortez- specifically the area of East Cape, Baja California de Sur.
PARTICIPATING SCIENTISTS: Dr. Eric Prince, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Dr. Oscar Sosa Nishizaki, Laboratorio de Ecologia Pesquera, Departamento de Oceanografia Biologica, CICESE and Dr. Rogelio González Armas from the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas, IPN.
TAG SPONSORS: Sperry Topsider, Yamaha Motors, Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament
TRAVEL & ARRANGEMENTS: The Presidential Challenge Conservation Series and Costa Del Mar.
JUNE 17, 2006: The Adopt-A-Billfish Phase II satellite tagging project will begin in early August. The tagging crew will travel to East Cape, Mexico, to tag sailfish August 8-9-10, 2006. We want to thank the Buena Vista Hotel & Spa for hosting our scientists for this trip. We take this opportunity to also thank Costa del Mar, our partner in conservation, Sperry Topsider,Yamaha Motors and The Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament for their support of this project.
MARCH 30, 2006: PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING WEB PAGE TO LEARN ABOUT THE EPIC PROJECT IN COSTA RICA. www.epicisland.org
APRIL 16, 2006: The Adopt-A-Billfish Program welcomes Sperry Topsider as a major tag sponsor of our Phase II tagging effort. Plans are in place to begin this project in East Cape, Baja, in early August. Our crew will travel to Mexico to do the satellite tagging as well as collecting larval samples of billfish.
MARCH 30, 2006: PHASE II - ADOPT-A-BILLFISH/SEA OF CORTEZ: We are set to kick off our Phase II tagging at East Cape, Mexico. Our host will be the Buena Vista Resort and Spa. Our crew is working to finalize the dates which will be toward the end of July. Chris Fischer Productions will be on hand to film our work to be shown on Chris' popular fishing show on ESPN. We will work with recreational anglers to capture pacific sailfish using standard fishing techniques (trolled ballyhoo and high speed lures). The majority of funding and substantial coordination of the work will be accomplished through the ‘Adopt A Billfish’ program, which is a partnership between The Billfish Foundation, University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric Science, the International Game Fish Association, Bermuda Division of Fisheries, and The Presidential Challenge Tournament Series including our conservation partner, Costa del Mar. Species included in the proposed work are restricted to sailfish, as this is the only istiophorid that is consistently abundant off the coast of Mexico. The objective of this work is to deploy PSAT tags on the large spawning size sailfish known to occur off the southern part of the Sea of Cortez. In essence, we want to monitor adult sailfish on the spawning grounds during the peak of spawning. The physical condition of animals and hook location will be recorded at capture. PSATs will be attached in the dorsal musculature just below the anterior portion of the dorsal fin. PSATs will be programmed on board to collect data over increasing time periods from 90 upwards of 150 days. The extent to which PSAT monitoring periods for sailfish can be increased will, to a large part, depend on improvements in handling, tethering, and anchoring mechanisms. Because sailfish are known to free jump more than other istiophorids, maintaining longer monitoring periods will be a particularly difficult challenge for this species. PSATs will detach from the sailfish after the defined interval and float to the surface, where the stored temperature, pressure and light intensity data will be transmitted to satellites of the Argos system, and ultimately to us via the internet. These data will be used to determine movement patterns on the known spawning areas, as well as time spent at temperature and depth in high resolution time scales (every 30 seconds). The ability of Pacific sailfish to carry PSATs for various time periods will be evaluated in tropical environments and the habitat preferences and movement patterns will be defined. Geographical target area: Sea of Cortez – specifically La Paz, Baja California de Sur, and Mazatlan. Participating Scientists: Dr. Eric Prince, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Dr. Oscar Sosa Nishizaki, Laboratorio de Ecologia Pesquera, Departamento de oceanografia Biologica, David Holts, Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
MARCH 3, 2005: Adopt-A-Billfish Phast Two is set to begin in 2006. The satellite tagging of sailfish will be in the Sea of Cortez. Dr. Eric Prince will once again be the lead scientist on this project. He will be assisted by Dr.Oscar Sosa, University of Mexico, Ensendada and David Holts, NMFS, San Diego, California. The Presidential Challenge and our conservation partner, Costa Del Mar will raise funds to cover travel expenses for the tagging trips. Funds to purchase tags will be collect through donations to The Billfish Foundation, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and are tax deductible. Please contact our office for further information (305)361-9258.
PANAMA- SEPT., 2002, TROPIC STAR LODGE
Trip courtesy of Tropic Star Lodge & The Presidential Challenge of Central America This was the first tagging trip taken by the Adopt-A-Billfish scientific staff. Four tags were taken to Tropic Star Lodge to be placed in billfish. Scientific Staff: Dr. Eric Prince (NMFS S.E. Division/Miami) – David Holts (NMFS S.W. Division/San Diego) Fish Tagged: 1 Black Marlin – traveled 400-500 miles toward the border of Panama in 28 days. 1 Sailfish – traveled northwest about 100 miles in 28 days. 1 Blue Marlin – mortality
COSTA RICA – MARCH 2003, LOS SUENOS, COSTA RICA
Fishing aboard the Old Reliable, courtesy of Nick Smith. Trip sponsored by Costa del Mar and The Presidential Challenge of Central America. Ten tags were taken on this trip. All ten tags were placed in sailfish and all ten tags reported. The results showed that the tagged sailfish scattered in all directions from the point of tagging. Scientific Staff: David Holts, Derke Snodgrass (NMFS S.E. Division/Miami) Here is a sample of some of the distances traveled: *518 miles in 40 days 485 miles in 59 days (toward Nicaragua and Guatemala) 555 miles in 59 days 1 sailfish crossed into Panamanian waters 3 sailfish swam offshore 1 sailfish traveled to Nicaraguan waters 1 sailfish traveled to El Salvador waters 1 sailfish traveled to Guatemalan waters 3 sailfish remained in Costa Rican waters
GUATEMALA – NOVEMBER 2003, IZTAPA, GUATEMALA
Trip arrangements courtesy of Costa del Mar and The Presidential Challenge of Central America. Dr. Russell Nelson representing The Billfish Foundation participated in the tagging. Ten tags were taken on this trip. All ten tags were placed in sailfish. One tag was placed in a blue marlin. Scientific Staff: David Holts, Derke Snodgrass. Days at Large Miles TraveledPop-up Location 61 178 miles Mexico 29 198 miles Offshore 46 *Blue Marlin 251 miles Offshore 53 197 miles Towards Mexico 54 140 Offshore 90 385 Offshore, South/SW toward El Salvador 72 470 Costa Rica 22 341 Offshore toward Guatemala/outside the EEZ of Guatemala 106 73 Guatemala 118 537 South
MEXICO-JANUARY, 2004 -ZIHUATENEJO, MEXICO
Trip coordinated by the IGFA, Monte Padilla(IGFA Representative-Mexico City), Stan Lushinsky(Ixtapa Sportfishing), Dr. Russell Nelson (The Billfish Foundation). Trip sponsored by Costa Del Mar, The Presidential Challenge of Central America, Tournament Anglers Association. Ten tags were taken on this trip. Nine sailfish were tagged. The sailfish tagged during this trip were extremely small in size. Four of the nine tags did not report. Scientific Staff: Dr. Eric Prince, David Holts.
Days at Large Miles Traveled Pop-up Location 19 238 Toward Guatemala 25 286 South West out of the EEZ of Mexico 30 295 South West out of THE EEZ OF MEXICO 22 345 Toward Guatemala This fish also paralled the coast towards Guatemala.
*None of the sailfish tagged traveled North.
PANAMA – JUNE, 2004 – TROPIC STAR LODGE
Trip coordinated by the IGFA, Terri Andrews(IGFA Treasurer and owner of Tropic Star Lodge), John Richardson (IGFA Representative). Trip sponsored by Costa Del Mar and The Presidential Challenge of Central America. Ten tags were taken on this trip and all were placed into sailfish. At this writing, the majority of the tags are still at large. Most were programmed for 45 to 120 days. The data from the tags reporting has not been analyzed at this writing.
Scientific Staff: Dr. Eric Prince, Derke Snodgrass
Data to date: 1 tag released early at 1 week 2- 45 day tags popped up
The following is a quote from Dr. Eric Prince regarding the Adopt-A-Billfish Pacific Program: “We have had success and failures- but more success than failure- in the program to date. We are dealing with state of the art electronics that we are improving with use. We will have data from 30-45 animals by the completion of this program. The goal for this program is to prove if the tagged animals stay within the boundaries of the country in which they are tagged or move out of the EEZ of the country where they are tagged.” “Questions still remain regarding the movement of sailfish along the Pacific Rim. What happens to sailfish in Baja and the Sea of Cortez? The answer to this question is the next target for the Adopt-A-Billfish Program in the Pacific.”
ADOPT-A-BILLFISH STUDY RESULTS:Dr. Eric Prince will present the results of this study at the 4th Billfish Symposium scheduled at Catalina Island in the fall of 2005.
*NOTE: All billfish released during this program were caught on Eagle Claw 2004 circle hooks.
JUNE 6, 2004; Our tagging team of Dr. Eric Prince and Derke Snodgrass will join the Guy Harvey party at Tropic Star Lodge the end of the month to complete our Adopt A Billfish program in the Pacific. They will tag 10 sailfish during their stay. Thanks go to Terry Andrews and Dr. Marcos Ostrander who are coordinating this trip on behalf of the IGFA. Terry is a Trustee and Marcos is the IGFA Representative in Panama.
JANUARY 27, 2004: The Adopt-A-Billfish Program headed to Ixtapa, Mexico, last week. Thanks to IGFA Representative from Mexico, Monty Padilla, Dr. Eric Prince,David Holts and Dr. Oscar Sosa (Mexican Department of Fisheries) were able to place PSAT tags into nine sailfish during their stay in this beautiful Pacific resort area. The tags are programed to pop up in 60 to 90 days. In addition to Monty Padilla, the scientific crew was joined by Sr. German Portilla who generously donated his boat for the tagging.This trip was made possible by the Presidential Challenge of Central America, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses and the IGFA. The crew was joined by Dr. Russell Nelson representing The Billfish Foundation. Russell and Monty took advantage of their time to meet with local captains to discuss various conservation issues including the use of circle hooks and the problem with long lining off the Mexican coast. MANY THANKS TO THE TOURNAMENT ANGLERS ASSOCIATION FOR THEIR GENEROUS CONTRIBUTION TO THE TAG PROGRAM.
GUATEMALA TAGS START TO SEND DATA: Eric Prince and Dave Holts report that the tags placed in sailfish in November of 2003 have begun to pop up on schedule. It takes several months to process this data. As soon as results are known, we will put notice on this website.
JANUARY 11, 2004: The Adopt-A-Billfish Program moves to Ixtapa, Mexico, on January 14th. Dr. Eric Prince, David Holts, Joan Vernon and Dr. Russell Nelson will journey to this lovely Mexican fishing destination to tag another ten sailfish. This trip has been coordinated by Monty Padilla, IGFA Representative from Mexico City. The IGFA is our new partner for the Pacific tagging project. The tags we will use will be programmed for longer periods of time in an attempt to get a better understanding of the distances these animals travel up and down the Pacific Coast.
NOVEMBER 24, 2003: The Adopt-A-Billfish tagging trip to Guatemala was a tremendous success! All ten tags were placed into sailfish. The first five were caught by Joan Vernon aboard the CLASSIC. The last five were tagged by Adopt-A-Billfish donor, Bill Easum, fishing aboard the Pelagian. Dr. Eric Prince sent two extra tags with hopes of putting them into blue marlin. On the first day of tagging, Bill Easum hooked up with a nice blue and we were able to get the tag into the fish prior to release. We are now focusing our efforts on the next trip. In January our tagging crew will go to Ixtapa, Mexico. A joint effort between the Presidential Challenge, Costa del Mar sunglasses and the I.G.F.A. is making this trip possible.
NOVEMBER 2,2003: The Adopt-A-Billfish satellite tagging effort continues to move forward. Guatemala is the next country to benefit from this program. Our scientists, David Holts(NMFS SAN DIEGO) and Derke Snodgrass (NMFS MIAMI)will travel to Guatemala with 10 satellite tags to be placed in sailfish. The fishing will be done by anglers staying over after THE PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGE OF CENTRAL AMERICA tournament. Holts and Snodgrass will be aboard the Artmarina boat CLASSIC to conduct the tagging. We are pleased to have SPORTING TRADITIONS, Miami, Florida, as a partner in this segment of our project. They have generously donated housing for our staff.
Dr. Eric Prince reports that he is compiling the data received from the 10 sailfish tagged in Costa Rica last March. As soon as his paper is pubished we will post this data on our web page.
PLEASE TAB DOWN FOR CONSERVATION INFORMATION & DR. PRINCE'S REPORT ON CIRCLE HOOKS.
THE COSTA RICAN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AGENCY, INCOPESCA, ANNOUNCED THAT IT IS NOW MANDATORY TO USE CIRCLE HOOKS WHEN FISHING FOR BILLFISH IN THAT COUNTRY. THE TWO EXCEPTIONS ARE WHEN FISHING WITH LURES AND FLYFISHING YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE A CIRCLE HOOK. DR. RUSSELL NELSON, THE BILLFISH FOUNDATION AND AN ACTIVE GROUP OF COSTA RICAN ANGLERS WORKED LONG AND HARD TO GET THIS RULE PASSED. THIS CAME ABOUT AFTER AN UNUSUAL NUMBER OF DEAD SAILFISH WERE SPOTTED OFF OF THE MID-COSTA RICAN COAST LAST JANUARY AS A RESULT OF DEEP HOOKING WITH 'J' HOOKS. ADOPT-A-BILLFISH TRIP TO COSTA RICA SUCCESSFUL!
We are pleased to announce that our satellite tagging trip to Los Sueños, Costa Rica, was a tremendous success! Our scientific crew, David Holts (NMFS San Diego) and Derke Snodgrass (NMFS Miami) tagged 10 Pacific Sailfish with the PSAT tags during three days of fishing. All fish were released in excellent shape. The pop-up times were set for 30,45 and 60 days. This will give us a good idea of the movement of these fish along the Eastern Pacific coast as sailfish seasons are set to begin in northern Costa Rica and Panama.
This trip was made possible by Mr. Nick Smith, Palm Beach, Florida, who generously donated the use of his boat, Old Reliable, and his captain, Chip Shafer for our taggin. Mr. Bill Royster, of Los Sueños Resort housed our staff during their stay in Costa Rica. Joining the scientists were Ed Moody and Lisa Meloni representing Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Costa Del Mar sponsored our first tag of the trip, a 55 pound sail, released by Lisa! All of the people mentioned above are truly dedicated to the conservation of billfish and to the success of our satellite tagging program. We thank them for their commitment to the future of billfish management in Central America.
The Adopt-A-Billfish Program will continue in November in conjunction with the Presidential Challenge of Central America Tournament in Guatemala. Tagging will be done immediately following the event, November 17, 18, 19, 2003. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a tag and joining us on this expedition, please contact Joan Vernon (information is below). We are also trying to put together a tagging trip to Ixtapa, Mexico, in January of 2004. According to the plan set forth by Dr. Robert Cowen, University of Miami Center for Sustainable Fisheries, ten tags will be used in each future location.
The Adopt-A-Billfish Program is a joint effort between the following:
THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI ROSENTSIEL SCHOOL/CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES
NOAA/NMFS – MIAMI, FL & SAN DIEGO, CA
THE BILLFISH FOUNDATION
THE PRESIDENTIAL CHALLENGE OF CENTRAL AMERIC