The Billfish Foundation’s (TBF) most recent International Billfish Conservation Record is now available on TBF’s website, billfish.org, free of charge. The Conservation Record examines and summarizes all tag, release & recapture data submitted in 2014 and provides a breakdown by species reported, maps of top tagging locations by species and oceans, and much more.
In 2014, TBF received over 14,000 billfish data reports which were either fish that were tagged and released or released fish without a tag. There was almost an even split between tagged fish and fish released without a tag. This was a big spike in numbers from 2013 data reports where only 9000 billfish were reported. Overall, more fish were tagged and released in the Pacific Ocean than in the Atlantic Ocean. The most commonly reported billfish species was sailfish (8,464) and the least reported was swordfish (65).
While reported recaptured billfish totaled 74, if we include all fish species, including the tunas, TBF received an additional 31 recapture records. The most commonly recaptured species of billfish in 2014 was sailfish (28), followed by blue marlin (27) and white marlin (13). Of all the fish recaptured in 2014, the longest time at large was a swordfish that swam for 2,885 days (almost 8 years), recaptured 877 miles from where it was originally tagged – from Desoto Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico to North Carolina. The longest distance for a tagged billfish between tagging and recapture locations in 2014 was a white marlin tagged off St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and recaptured off Virginia, 1,382 miles away and 1,297 days later. Although the furthest distance for any tagged species was bluefin tuna, with a number of them tagged off Massachusetts, travelling approximately 4,500 miles and recovered in the Mediterranean Sea after about 5 years at large.
TBF thanks the Tag & Release program sponsors in 2014, Bisbee’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund, Casa Vieja Lodge, Costa, King Sailfish Mounts, SIMRAD & Pelagic Gear, for their support in making this record possible. Check out TBF’s Conservation Record on TBF’s website here.