The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recently announced that a blue marlin satellite-tagged on July 21, 2017, during the Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship has won the 2017-2018 IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR).
The winning billfish swam an estimated 5,089 nautical miles (nm) in total or 2,658 nm point-to-point from Bermuda to about 600 nm northeast of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. This is the longest distance ever recorded by an IGMR-tagged blue marlin in Bermuda.
“Congratulations to tag sponsor Mike Verzaleno whose generosity allowed us to track the incredible journey of the winning billfish,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “Strong support from recreational anglers is the key to the success of this innovative, citizen-science conservation initiative.”
The IGMR is a partnership between IGFA and Stanford University that pairs recreational anglers with cutting-edge science to learn more about the basic biology of marlin and how they utilize the open ocean habitat. The goal of the program is to deploy 50 pop-up archival tags (PAT) in marlin at billfish tournaments around the world each year.
Since 2011, more than 350 satellite tags have been placed on billfish during IGMR tagging events. In the 2017-2018 race season, 58 tags were deployed on 31 blue marlin, 18 black marlin and nine striped marlin in seven countries around the world.
Marlin tagged in Bermuda during the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Triple Crown Billfish Championship tournaments swam a total of 16,464 nm and the winning fish accounts for 16 percent of this distance.