Spearfish Insights from the IGFA Great Marlin Race

IGFA Representative and World Record holder Dr. Martini Arostegui.

Many of you are probably familiar with sailfish, marlin, and swordfish but did you know there is another group of billfishes known as spearfish. There are three species of spearfish found in the Atlantic and Mediterranean: the roundscale, longbill, and Mediterranean; and a single species found in the Indo-Pacific known as the shortbill. These four species are the rarest and least studied of all billfish with very little information on their basic biology, ecology, and migratory behavior. The IGFA and Dr. Martini Arostegui are working to change that by tracking Mediterranean and shortbill spearfish using Pop-up Satellite Archival Tags (PSATs) as part of the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) in collaboration with Stanford University.

A recent article in HOT Bluewater magazine highlighted the research programs on spearfish and the work being done by Dr. Arostegui who is also an IGFA Representative. To date, there have only been three published studies on spearfish with Dr. Arostegui publishing two of the three on Mediterranean spearfish and shortbill spearfish using IGMR satellite tag data. In fact, of the six successfully transmitted PSAT datasets on spearfish, the IGMR accounts for four of the six.

Dr. Arostegui’s work is critical to improving our knowledge base, conservation, and management of these relatively unknown spearfish species. Over the past year, the IGMR has deployed six additional PSATs on Mediterranean spearfish and hopes to deploy more on shortbill spearfish in the future. Although we still have a lot to learn about the population dynamics of these species, these preliminary studies provide the foundation for scientific research to expand upon into the future.  

HOT Bluewater magazine is a free digital magazine that can be viewed or downloaded by Bluewater members free of charge. You just need to complete the free registration here for access: https://bluewatermag.com.au/bluewater-game-fishing/