IGFA's Conservation Work Update for December 2023
The IGFA works ardently on a global scale to ensure that the fisheries and habitats we love are properly managed and that the interests of recreational anglers are represented appropriately. Please read the summary below to learn more about what the IGFA’s Conservation Department has achieved over the past quarter.
Here are some highlights of the work the IGFA has been doing recently:
IGFA Great Marlin Race
- The IGFA’s flagship research program in collaboration with Stanford University, continues to deploy tags around the globe with nearly 600 satellite tags deployed in 23 countries since 2011. With each tag deployed, we learn more about billfish behavioral patterns which helps the scientific community better understand what drives these species and improves our ability to conserve and manage them for the future.
- In October 2023, four tags were deployed on striped marlin off the Baja Peninsula in Mexico as part of the inaugural SoCal 2023 event. These tags were sponsored by the Crean Foundation (2), Marty and Mitchell Firestein, and the Laguna Niguel Billfish Club. Three of these tags were deployed aboard the Hooked captained by Geoff Hersch and were all caught by Matt Tracy. The fourth tag was deployed aboard the Bull Pen, captained by Dave Dubas, on the fish caught by Cody Merrick. These four tags are scheduled to pop up between April 13th and April 16th, 2024.
- In November 2023, a tag sponsored by Marlin Magazine was deployed off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia during a Marlin Expedition event. The tag was deployed on a 200-lb black marlin aboard the Calypso captained by Dean Ford. The fish was caught by Marco Castellanos and tagged by Ben Hayes. The tag is expected to pop up on May 6, 2024.
Roosterfish Research Program
- The second year of IGFA’s roosterfish research began in May 2023 with the addition of a fourth sampling location in Ecuador. The research team will now collect genetic samples in Baja California Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Ecuador to explore how connected the population is across their range in the Eastern Pacific.
Golden Dorado Research Program
- Entering the final year of the Golden Dorado project, the IGFA is excited by the tremendous progress made on this project in the past year. This final year of the project will include the implementation of a human dimension study to learn angler perceptions of the fishery with the end goal of combining this information with the results of the genetic study to build a “best practices” document to share with the local community that will benefit both anglers and the fish.
Forage Fish Research Program
- Our 2023-2024 fellows are hard at work on their respective projects. Christopher Crowder, from the University of Central Florida, is working on a habitat mosaic approach to better understand fish community dynamics in Tampa Bay by exploring how shifting habitats influence the abundance and structure of fish communities of both forage and predator species. Hallie Repeta, from the University of South Florida, is working with the ATLANTIS model by updating the Gulf of Mexico model for forage species and their predators with data from surveys and monitoring done by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute fisheries independent monitoring program.
7th International Billfish Symposium
- The IGFA and Wild Oceans will be hosting the 7th International Billfish Symposium (IBS) from October 8-10, 2024, at Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute in San Diego California, US. The three-day meeting will bring together the world’s experts in billfish science, management, and fisheries and is the only conference series of its kind that focuses on issues specifically related to billfish. The 7th IBS theme is, “Advancing Science and Management of Billfish in a Changing Ecosystem.” Participants will highlight advances across all aspects of billfish science and management while examining evolving climate-related impacts. For more information, please visit the website here: https://bfsymposium.org/ and stay tuned for updates on key dates, registration, and abstract submission deadlines.
- Over the past few months IGFA has participated in a variety of advocacy-based efforts including:
- Attending the Big Bend Estuary Restoration Team annual meeting in Cedar Key, Florida, US
- Working with a large coalition on the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative
- Attending the North American Regional Consultation in advance of the 6th United Nations Environment Assembly
- Participating in multiple virtual meetings among our many coalitions for forage fish, US-based policy actions, and the Center for Sportfishing Policy.
Over the past six months, the IGFA has also signed on to numerous coalition letters and provided input to ongoing legislative actions both in the US and internationally. A sampling of the more significant coalition letters of which the IGFA participated can be found on the IGFA website here https://igfa.org/fisheries-policy/.