One Month Left In TBF Tag And Release Competition
With just a month left in its annual worldwide Tag & Release Program the competition is heating-up across three oceans towards reaching The Billfish Foundation's final tally of data research for 2010.
For over two decades The Billfish Foundation, one of the most respected international marine conservation organizations, has generated the world's largest private billfish tagging database providing scientists with vital information on billfish movement and populations.
Aided by thousands of volunteers from some 70 countries, fishing the temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans where a majority of the world's billfish inhabit, the information they've gathered has become the cornerstone of TBF's work in billfish research.
"Each year from November 1 to October 31, these anglers, captains and mates become the heart-and-soul of TBF's renowned Tag & Release Program," said Peter Chaibongsai, TBF's Director of Science and Policy. "Annually we receive a combined total of 13,500 to 15,000 TBF 'tagging data reports' and 'release notification cards'."
TBF issued an update with the "top five" in many of the categories of records processed so far. (see agate below).
What happens to the tagging information?
Chaibongsai said once a fish is tagged, the matching tagging card is filled out and sent to TBF with details such as migration patterns, age, growth rates, diving depths and sex ratios, all adding to a knowledge base advancing billfish science and, in turn, management policies.
"Every tagged, released and recaptured billfish provides us with one more piece in the puzzle of their mysterious lives," he said. "It's then added and kept in our database. Since TBF has the largest private billfish database, international and domestic marine resource managing bodies like the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), rely on TBF to update their databases increasing their knowledge of billfish. Additionally, documenting tagged and/or released billfish also illustrates the socio-economic importance of recreational fishing to policy makers."
Plan to Participate in TBF's 2011 Tag & Release Program starting Nov 1
To receive an award, anglers must be an active TBF member and have tagged and/or released five or more of a species to qualify. For youth anglers under 18 a minimum of three fish are required to qualify. The winners of TBF's 20th year-long competition will be presented TBF's 2010 International Tag & Release Awards this February in Miami, Fla.
"Participation by anglers worldwide makes a valuable contribution towards realizing a brighter future for billfish, our oceans and related economies," added Chaibongsai.