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Watamu Kenya 2013

Watamu, Kenya 2013 Race Complete

JANUARY 2015 -- The final tag in the Watamu, Kenya IGFA Great Marlin Race popped up on December 25th to conclude the race. Congratulations to Team 1: Ol Jogi II- winners of the Watamu, Kenya IGMR! Deployed over one year ago on an estimated 80 kg (176 lb) black marlin on August 19, 2013, the tag was not only the first satellite deployed in the race, but the first satellite tag deployed on a marlin in East Africa! The tag popped up in the Gulf of Aden on October 4, 2013 and revealed that the fish swam a linear distance of 1,108 nm and a total estimated distance of 3,026 nm in a mere 46 days. Congratulations to angler Sam Horner, tagger Sammy Tuva, and Captain Stuart Simpson of Team Ol Jogi II!

Coming in close second is Team 5: Tarka who placed the fifth and final tag on the other black marlin of the race-an estimated 75 kg (165 lb) fish. On the morning of September 6, 2014, the black was tagged and released by African Billfish Foundation’s Roy Bealey after a 12 minute fight with angler Cindy Gagnepain aboard Tarka. 110 days later on Christmas day, the tag revealed that rather than going north like Team 1’s marlin, the fish swam 935 nm to the south, almost reaching the Zambezi River delta.

Third, fourth, and fifth place in the race all belong to blue marlin.

Third place goes to Team 2: Unreel whose estimated 90 kg (198 lb) blue marlin, although only recording a point to point distance of 104 nm, actually traveled much farther-an estimated 2,510 nm in a large loop and returning to nearby waters wear it was tagged!

Team 4: Unreel’s blue marlin (the second fish tagged in the race by Unreel Capt. Rob Helier) earned fourth place for swimming a point to point distance of 44 nm in just five days. As noted in the previous update, since the miniPATs have to float at the surface for a period of four days before they begin to transmit data, a five day deployment period means that it was likely only on the blue for one day at most. Therefore, since we can only receive one location per day from the tags under the best of circumstances, a track couldn’t be produced for this tag.

Last but not least, Team 3: Simba’s blue marlin earned fifth place for traveling a linear distance of 37 nm in 27 days. Based on the data that was returned from this tag, the marlin succumbed to predation almost immediately after the tag was deployed on the fish. Therefore, there will also be no track generated for this fish.  

Since the final tag of the IGMR popped up on Christmas day, it will be about one more month before the tag is done transferring its stored data to ARGOS. At that time, we will be able to develop a track for this tag and then information on all five tags will be combined into a single report.

IGFA and Stanford University would like to thank the African Billfish Foundation, captains, crew, sponsors, and taggers from the Watamu, Kenya IGMR. The tag data from this race will greatly contribute to data collected from other billfish in the Indian Ocean.


Watamu, Kenya 2013 Race Update

MARCH 2014 -- Seven months ago, the first tag of the Watamu, Kenya 2013 IGFA Great Marlin Race was deployed on August 19, 2013 by Sammy Tuva after Sam Horner reeled in the 80 kg (176 lb) black marlin after a 20 minute fight aboard Ol Jogi II. According to the African Billfish Foundation, this was the first satellite tag to be deployed on a marlin in East Africa! The tag popped up in the Gulf of Aden on October 4, 2013 and showed that the fish swam a point to point distance of 1,108 nm, which is quite far for a 46 day journey!

On December 13, 2013, Unreel Captain Rob Hellier placed the second tag on a 90 kg (198 lb) blue marlin. The angler, Sam Coate, stated on the data sheet that the fish was “in good condition and swam away well”. On February 19, 2014, after 67 days at large, the tag popped up 104 nm away from where it was deployed. Although the blue did not swim a tremendous distance, it will be interesting to see if the fish exhibited fidelity to a specific area or if it traveled extensively.

On January 30, 2014, Mark Smith hooked up to a 60 kg (132 lb) blue marlin while fishing from Simba and after a 20 minute bout, Mtwalia Zia placed the third tag on the fish. According to the data sheet, the fish named “Roger the Marlin” was “healthy and sway away well”. After 27 days, on February 26, 2014, the tag surfaced a distance of 37 nm away from its point of deployment.

On February 24, 2014, Unreel Captain Rob Hellier placed another tag, the fourth of the Kenya IGMR, on the largest fish in the race- a 159 kg (350 lb) blue marlin - after a 40 minute fight with angler Sean Durham. As noted on the data sheet, the fish “swam for a bit, turned upside down for 15 seconds then righted and swam” away. Only five days later on March 1, 2014, the tag surfaced to reveal that the blue swam 44 nm.  Unfortunately, there will not be a track for this tag. Since the tag has to float at the surface for four days before it begins to transmit data, a five day deployment period means that it was likely only on the marlin for one day at most. Since we can only receive one location per day from the tags under the best of circumstances, a track cannot be generated.

Stay tuned for updates on new tracks as well as news about the final tag in the Watamu, Kenya 2013 IGMR that is currently awaiting deployment.


Watamu, Kenya 2013 Race Start

SEPTEMBER 2013 -- A total of five tags have been sponsored for the Watamu, Kenya 2013 IGMR and on August 19, 2013 the first tag was placed on a lively, 80 kg (176 lb) black marlin by Sammy Tuva after it was caught by Sam Horner aboard Ol Jogi II.We will wait to see how far the marlin will swim and we wish Kenya luck in deploying the remaining tags!