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Lizard Island Australia 2016


28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic in Cooktown, Australia

950 black marlin tagged by Little Audrey capt. Daniel Carlson


28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic in Cooktown, Australia
















Lizard Island, Australia 2016 Race Start

FEBRUARY 2017 -- October marked three decades of fishing for the Great Northern Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic. The Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic is the second longest running tournament in the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) and four fish tagged in these tournaments occupy first, third, fourth, and fifth place on the IGMR Global Leaderboard of Top 5 Longest Tracks to Date! This year, a remarkable 21 tags were sponsored by Peter Teakle, Ernesto Bertarelli, and Barry and Josh Shevlin, and nineteen of the tags were deployed on black marlin during the week-long event.

Of the nineteen tagged marlin, five are swimming with their tags and fourteen have reported. After thorough analysis of the data with our partners at Stanford, and conversations with Wildlife Computers, we can safely say that there are no tag issues, but a few different unfortunate occurrences:

By looking at the light level plots, we were able to conclude that Fish 1 (6 days at large (DAL)), Fish 3 (23 DAL), Fish 6 (19 DAL), Fish 8 (11 DAL), and Fish 15 (3 DAL) were all predation events.  Fish 1, Fish 6, and Fish 15 were predations that occurred immediately after tagging. Fish 3 and Fish 8 were predations that occurred one day after tagging.

By analyzing the plots of depth and temperature, we were able to conclude that Fish 13 and 18 died right after they were tagged. Both tags sunk to the ocean floor immediately after deployment and remained at the bottom (no depth change). When no depth change occurs for a while, the tags are programmed to release themselves and pop up to the surface and report that information.

The data for Fish 10 (19 DAL) and 11 (1 DAL) show that the tags pulled out of the marlin. In this situation, we’re unable to determine if the tag was not set deeply enough or if the marlin expelled the tag.

The data for Fish 2 (26 DAL), Fish 5 (17 DAL), and Fish 16 (41 DAL) reveal normal, premature releases that we see sometimes in this program. The good news is, all three fish swam far distances in the time the tags were with them, and when the data finishes transmitting, we will be able to make tracks for these tags and learn more about the deployments.

Last month, Fish 7 popped up near the Solomon Islands in the Solomon Sea after 92 days at liberty and traveling a point to point distance of 744 nautical miles. Also popping up near the Solomon Islands, Fish 14 reported this week after 102 days on the black marlin and having traveled a linear distance of 1,055 nm northeast. Once the data finishes transmitting, tracks will be developed and we’ll have a more clear idea of why these tags released prematurely.

It is our hope that the five fish currently swimming with their tags will continue to break more IGMR records. Lizard Island has fostered some of the longest tracks in the IGMR over the years. In fact, sponsor Peter Teakle has recently won the 2015-2016 annual IGMR (for the second time) for his winning black marlin that swam 4,393 nautical miles – the longest distance of the year and the third longest distance in IGMR history! Please stay tuned to the race page for new information and tracks.