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Lizard Island Australia 2014


 
 

28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic

 
28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic convoy headed out to sea
Photo courtesy of ABC Open's Gemma Deavin
 

 

 
 

28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic

28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic convoy headed out to sea
Photo courtesy of ABC Open's Gemma Deavin

 

28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic in Cooktown, Australia

 
 
Cooktown Wharf where this year's tournament was held              
Photo courtesy of Kelly Dalling Fallon www.blackmarlinfishingblog.com

 

950 black marlin tagged by Little Audrey capt. Daniel Carlson

Team Little Audrey's 431 kg (950 lb) black marlin with miniPAT
Photo courtesy of Tom Murray
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

900 lb black marlin tagged by Kelly Mills in 2014 Lizard Island, AUS IGMR

 
 
Team Kekoa's (408 kg) 900 lb black marlin with miniPAT tag
Photo courtesy of Kelly Dalling Fallon www.blackmarlinfishingblog.com
 
 

 

 

28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic in Cooktown, Australia

 
 
Cooktown Wharf where this year's tournament was held              
Photo courtesy of ABC Open's Gemma Deavin
 
 
 
 

28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic in Cooktown, Australia

 
 
Kelly Dalling Fallon preparing for the 28th Black Marlin Classic          
Photo courtesy of ABC Open's Gemma Deavin

Lizard Island, Australia 2014 Race Update

JANUARY 2015 -- We are halfway through the 2014 Lizard Island, Australia Race where 23 black marlin are battling it out for first place!

Our partners at Stanford analyzed the data and have concluded that of the seven early releases mentioned in the first update, two tags pulled free from the fish, one tag surfaced due to a marlin mortality with another potential mortality which caused the tag to release prematurely, and three tags were consumed by lamnid sharks (most likely a mako or a white shark).

The data showed that Tag 1 from Team Think Big detached prematurely from the marlin the day after it was tagged. The pin was not broken and therefore we must assume that the tag pulled free from the fish.

Tag 5- Team Little Audrey’s marlin died five days after it was tagged on October 13, 2014. The data revealed that the tag sank to the ocean floor (a depth of 1,100 meters) and the nil change in depth initiated the premature release of the tag. Fittingly, the team stated on their data sheet that they thought the marlin was “recently injured” and had an “ulcer-like mark on the belly”.

The tag data from Tag 11- Team Game Over showed that the marlin was consumed by a shark promptly after being tagged and released.

Data revealed that Tag 14 from Team Kaizen sunk to a depth of 1,500 meters 15 days after the marlin was tagged, where it remained for several hours before floating to the surface. Because the pin was not broken and the tag was not at a zero depth change long enough to initiate the standard premature release, it is likely that the marlin had died and the carcass subsequently was eaten, freeing the tag to float away. The good news is that the tag collected about two weeks of data before it reported, and a nice track was produced and shows the marlin traveled directly east and then back again before heading 253 nautical miles (nm) south along the coast.

Data showed that the pin on Tag 2 was not broken, so we must reason that the tag pulled free from Team Amokuras marlin. However, the tag surfaced after collecting data for a month on the marlin and the track shows that from mid-October into November, the black swam south east and circled the small islands off the east coast of Cairns.

The tag data from Tag 19 showed that the marlin and the tag were consumed by a shark immediately after being released. It is worth mentioning that Team Maverick recorded on their data sheet that their marlin was “swimming away with ease” despite “some bleeding from the gills”, which may have led to the predation event. Data from Tag 21 revealed that Team Duyfkens marlin and tag were also consumed by a shark.

Interestingly, all of the predations appear to have happened within an hour or two after the fish was released. As for why the tags pulled free from two of the marlin, it is impossible to determine; but we cannot rule out the likelihood that these were also predation events, in which the tag simply was never ingested by the predator. An alternative explanation could be the large size of the black marlin, which may have made it difficult to get the tag set in the proper manner. Alternatively, the marlin may just be bigger and faster which could result in more stress on the tag. Or perhaps it is a combination of the two explanations where the tag may not be completely secure and the large marlin are encountering many hungry sharks, which would mean a lot of fast movements and escape behaviors which may simply rip the tag free whether or not it is securely set (vigorous activity may pull out even a secure tag). 

The other 16 tags are currently still gathering data on marlin and are scheduled to pop-up between April and May of this year. We can’t wait to see where these marlin swim!


Lizard Island, Australia 2014 Race Start

DECEMBER 2014 -- Due to the damage caused by Cyclone Ita in April of this year, the 28th Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic was relocated to Cooktown, Australia where 25 boats gathered on October 11, 2014 for the week-long, annual billfish tournament and the third year of the Lizard Island, Australia IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR). Thanks to the enormous generosity of The Bertarelli Foundation who sponsored 15 tags, and Peter Teakle who sponsored 10 tags for this year’s IGMR, each member of the fleet was issued a satellite tag, free of charge!

In the weeks following the 23 deployments, there have been seven premature pop-ups. Tag 1- Team Think Big was the first tag to report after five days on the marlin, 24 nautical miles (nm) away from where it was deployed. Tag 5- Team Little Audrey was next to report on October 22, 2014, 143 nm away after nine days at large and Tag 11- Team Game Over surfaced eight day later and 85 nm away from where it was deployed. Tag 14-Team Kaizen was the  fourth tag to pop-up on November 7, 2014 and showed the marlin traveled a linear distance of 253 nm in only three weeks. The following day, Tag 2-Team Amokura surfaced after being on the marlin for a month and recorded a distance of 189 nm. On November 10, 2014, Tag 19-Team Maverick’s popped-up after 13 days at large and 51 nm away from the marlin was tagged. The next day, Tag 21-Team Duyfken surfaced six nm away from the deployment location after 10 days on the black.

We are currently anaylyzing the data from these early releases to determine whether they reflect tag pull-outs, mortalities, or predation events (all of which we have seen in previous deployments in this region), and we will post results as they become available. The remaining 16 tags are currently still on marlin and collecting data and are due to surface in April and May of 2015. Please stay tuned to our race page where all updates to the 2014 Lizard Island, Australia IGMR will be posted.