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Puerto San Jose Guatemala 2013

A sailfish caught and tagged off the coast of Guatemala in the IGFA Great Marlin Race.Puerto San Jose, Guatemala 2013 Race Complete

OCTOBER 2013 -- In February of this year, the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) traveled to Marina Pez Vela in Puerto San Jose, Guatemala where five miniPATs were generously sponsored by the Club Nautico de Guatemala and the Asociacion Nacional de Pesca Deportiva de Guatemala. Guatemala has been described by many to be the sailfish capital of the world and Puerto San Jose proved to be a perfect location to add sailfish to the IGMR for the very first time!

Four satellite tags were deployed on February 21, 2013 while fishing from Piragua. The first tag was deployed in the morning on a 29 kg (65 lb) sailfish and several minutes later, the second miniPAT was placed on another sail of the same size. In the same afternoon, IGFA Representative Jorge Sinibaldi hooked up with a 32 kg (70 lb) sail and after a quick fight, the third tag was deployed on the fish. An hour afterwards, the fourth tag was placed on a 23 kg (50 lb) sailfish, reeled in by Fernando Merck. The following morning, February 22, 2013, the fifth and final tag was placed on a 29 kg (65 lb) fish caught by Franz Hoffman aboard Tranquility.

Tag 2 was the first to report and on May 20, 2013, the tag reported a point to point distance of 24 nautical miles (nm). However, after the data were received, it became very clear that the sailfish died within 24 hours after it was tagged-only three other mortalities have been recorded since the start of the IGMR. Tag 1 was the second tag to report and on July 29, 2013, it reported a distance of 184 nm after 158 days at large. Tag 5 continued to record data over the entire deployment period of 180 days and when it surfaced, the tag reported a distance of 859 nm from where it was deployed! Congratulations to Team Tranquility, the winner of the 2013 Puerto San Jose, Guatemala IGMR!

The final two tags, Tag 3 and 4, of the 2013 Puerto San Jose, Guatemala IGMR were due up on August 20, 2013 and unfortunately, they did not report. Although this is a very rare occasion and has only happened twice in the history of the IGMR, this can happen for several reasons. In this case, we believe that these fish may have been caught by commercial longliners operating off of Guatemala. Since it is illegal to possess sailfish, we believe that these two tags may have been destroyed immediately after the fish were landed. However, there is no way to absolutely confirm this.

We are very excited to have incorporated sailfish data to our research as we continue to follow billfish movements around the world. Special thanks go to Jorge Sinibaldi and Fernando Merck for organizing this tagging effort. Plans are already underway to deploy additional tags in sailfish off of Guatemala to obtain more information on these exceptionally, popular sport fish. 


Sailfish join the IGMR

Sailfish have officially joined the IGMR! Working with Jorge Sinibaldi and Fernando Merck of the Club Nautico de Guatemala and the Asociación Nacional de Pesca Deportiva de Guatemala, five miniPAT satellite tags were deployed on sailfish off the coast of Guatemala on February 21 and 22, 2013. As their name implies, the miniPATs are smaller versions of the Wildlife Computer MK10 tags that have been previously used on marlin in the IGMR. Programmed to pop up after 180 days, these tags will provide extensive data on sailfish movement and vertical habitat use along the west coast of Central America.