The Great Marlin Race Goes Global
This note is long overdue! As many of you know who will be reading this, last year our team here at Stanford University began working with Jason Schratwieser, Conservation Director at the International Game Fish Association, to expand the Great Marlin Race beyond its birthplace at the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Our shared vision in this effort was to create a series of Great Marlin Race events all around the world, culminating in a meta-competition wherein the tagged marlin traveling the furthest, in all of the events of a given year, would be recognized at the Annual IGFA International Auction & Banquet held each January at the IGFA Headquarters in Dania Beach, Florida.
This first year if the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR), was an incredible success. Events were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Richard's Bay, South Africa; Exmouth, Australia; Madeira, Portugal; and Spain's Canary Islands. A total of 23 satellite tags were deployed on black and blue marlin in three ocean basins. These fish covered a total point-to-point distance of 11,484 nautical miles - including one spectacular track originating off Puerto Rico and winding up off the coast of Angola, 4,776 miles away from where it was tagged! The team who sponsored that tag will be honored at this year's annual IGFA Banquet, and will celebrate the memory of the late Mike Benitez, the angler who tagged that winning marlin, who passed away just two days before the tag popped up.
We are already well into the second year of this fantastic collaboration, with tags having been deployed at the 2012 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in August, the 2012 San Juan International Billfish Tournament in September and the Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic in October. More events are currently being planned for South Africa, Kenya and Australia, with other possibilities being discussed each week.