170-pound Marlin tagged off Big Island wins 2011 Great Marlin Ra - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

170-pound Marlin tagged off Big Island wins 2011 Great Marlin Race

By: Denise Yuki

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- The third annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament Great Marlin Race, was won by "West Marie," a 170-pound Pacific blue marlin caught by angler Ed Abele and tagged by Marlin Parker on board his boat the Marlin Magic II.

The electronic tag was deployed on the marlin on August 8, 2011, off the Big Island's West Coast. Stanford University marine biologists report that the tag was released from the marlin after 121 days, at a distance of 2,188 nautical miles south of the equator from where it was tagged, and about 700 miles east-northeast of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia.

The Great Marlin Race concept was initially developed in 2009 to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) and also serves as a collaborative conservation research project involving Stanford University and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).

Over the first three years of the event, a total of 30 Pacific blue marlin have been tagged with electronic tags and have produced 1,682 days of tracking data, with total point-to-point distances totaling more than 22,500 nautical miles.

"I am amazed at how quickly blue marlin travel the surface waters connecting the two hemispheres," said Stanford University professor of marine sciences Barbara Block. "These are oceanic travelers who are using international waters, crossing many national boundaries quickly."

Of the 10 tags deployed as part of this event, 6 ultimately surfaced - all of them along a broad swath of ocean southeast of the Hawaiian Islands. In the 2010 race all but one of the marlin traveled mostly east from Hawaii, and no tags reported from the Southern Hemisphere.

"The variability in these tracks illustrates the importance of gathering data over several years to understand the broad migration patterns of these fish," said Stanford University marine biologist Randy Kochevar.

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