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Tahiti French Polynesia 2013

Since the start of the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) in 2011, a total of 47 MK-10 Pop-up Archival Transmitting (PAT) tags have been deployed on marlin in Africa, Australia, Ecuador, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, and Hawaii. Although the MK-10 satellite tags can offer a deployment period of over a year, the IGMR was using 120 day deployments that were increased to 180 days at the 2012 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.

Wildlife Computers released a second satellite tag to track the large scale movements and behavior of fish. Their Mini Pop-up Archival Transmitting (PAT) tags are smaller versions of the MK-10 tags. They are 60 millimeters smaller, 22 grams lighter, and have deployment periods of up to one year. Since the miniPATs are smaller and may incur less drag, the IGMR is eager to incorporate some into the race in order to compare their reliability with the larger tags.

IGFA Chairman Packy Offield, has generously agreed to sponsor 30 miniPATs, which he plans to deploy on marlin from his boat, Kelsey Lee, during an extended fishing expedition to French Polynesia. Although these tags will not be eligible to win the annual IGFA Great Marlin Race, we are incredibly excited to increase the geographic range of the IGMR to this part of the world. The data from these 30 miniPATs will not only increase our knowledge of marlin movement and habitat use, but it will allow us to better evaluate this innovative tag technology.