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Rabaul Papua New Guinea 2015


Marlin caught during the 2015 Tropicana Billfish Tournament
Photo taken by Steve Philp, courtesy of Kelly Dalling Fallon










Rabaul, Papua New Guinea 2015 Race Complete

MAY 2016 -- Congratulations to Rapopo Plantation Resort and Fish 3-Team Manu Tai for winning the inaugural Rabaul, PNG IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR)!

On February 17, the tag on Fish 3 popped up 502 nautical miles (nm) southeast of where it was tagged and 85 nm north of the Solomon Islands. As you can see by the track on the race page, the fish actually swam much farther- a distance we estimate to be 1,605 nm!

Coming in second place and reporting this week on May 20, 2016 after 188 days on the blue marlin, was the other tag deployed by Manu Tai: Fish 1 sponsored by New Britain Game Fishing Club (NBGFC). The tag on Fish 1 popped up 297 nm west of the tagging location. When the tag has finished transmitting data and the track is available (in about one month), it will be really interesting to see if the Pacific blue marlin spent the majority of its time around PNG, or if returned there towards the end of the deployment.

There are currently tracks available on the race page for Fish 2 and Fish 3. The track for Fish 5 is currently being processed through a land mask to further refine it and will be available on the race page shortly. Once these tracks are generated, a comprehensive race report will be made available to everyone.

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea 2015 Race Start

FEBRUARY 2016 -- The Tropicana Billfish Tournament, put on by the New Britain Game Fishing Club (NBGFC), kicked off on Saturday November 14, 2015 and the fishing was red hot! Reports described double and even quadruple hookups on blue marlin during the 9-day annual event, and five satellite tags were deployed for the inaugural Rabaul, Papua New Guinea IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR).

NBGFC's satellite tag was the first to go out on in the afternoon of fishing on November 14, 2015. Angler Sean Chalmers hooked an estimated 80 kg (176 lb) blue marlin and after a 35 minute fight with the fish, Manu Tai Captain Ian O'Hanlon and Tim O'Hanlon brought the blue gently alongside the boat where tagger Pinia O'Hanlon released it with the first satellite tag of the race.

30 minutes later, angler Joanne Seeto reeled in a 70 kg (154 lb) blue marlin while fishing from Stephanie 8 with Captain John Lau. Tagger Paul Amsim described the fish as "healthy" when he released the blue with the second satellite tag of the race sponsored by Tropicana. Unfortunately, the tag popped up 19 days later, 31 nautical miles away from where it was deployed. However, you can see by the track on the race page that Fish 2 actually swam much further. After the tag was deployed, the blue headed northwest offshore, before it circled back towards the coast of Rabaul when the tag popped up. We are unsure as to why the tag popped up after three weeks, but we hypothesize that either the tag pulled out or there was a leader failure.

The following morning, on November 15, 2015, tagger Pinia O'Hanlon released the third satellite tag in the race for Rapopo Plantation Resort on an estimated 90 kg (198 lb) blue marlin caught by angler Tim O'Hanlon aboard Manu Tai.

Several hours later, angler J. Seeto reeled in an estimated 90 kg (198 lb) blue marlin that sponsor Bob O'Dea released with the fourth satellite tag of the race. Unfortunately, the data revealed that the tag on Fish 4 was ingested almost immediately after it was deployed. We know it was inside of an animal because there was no light data collected by the tag until it surfaced and the temperature collected remained stable despite changes in depth. Although it is possible that there was a mortality associated with tagging and the tag was consumed afterward, it is also highly possible that the marlin was killed by a predator and the tag ingested by the predator.

Five days later, on November 20, 2015, the fifth and final satellite tag, sponsored by Michael Chan & Pacific Development, went out on an estimated 90 kg (198 lb) blue marlin caught by Barry Finall and tagged by Australian angler Steve Philp. Much like Fish 2, though, the tag popped up after 23 days off the coast of Rabaul,17 nautical miles away from where it was deployed, and it was also likely from the tag pulling out or a leader failure. That being said, a track will be available on the race page in the coming weeks and it will be interesting to see where the fish traveled and if the path was similar to that of Fish 2.

Fish 1 and Fish 3, both tagged by Pinia O'Hanlon aboard Manu Tai, are still collecting data on the blues and are due to report in mid-July. We are looking forward to seeing where these marlin travel and are excited to add the first ever data from Papua New Guinea to our growing dataset on Pacifc blue marlin.