The Billfish Foundation’s most recent International Billfish Conservation Record is now available for free on TBF’s website. The report examines and summarizes all tag, release and recapture data submitted in 2014, providing a breakdown by species reported, maps of top tagging locations by species and oceans, and much more.
In 2014, TBF received over 14,000 billfish data reports for fish either tagged and released or released without a tag. There was almost an even split between tagged fish and fish released without a tag. The increased reporting effort represents a large spike in numbers from 2013 data, where 9,000 billfish were tallied. Overall, more fish were tagged and released in the Pacific than in the Atlantic. The most commonly reported billfish species was sailfish (8,464), and the least reported was swordfish (65).
While 74 billfish recaptures were reported in 2014, TBF received an additional 31 recapture records for other fish species, including tunas. The most commonly recaptured species of billfish in 2014 was sailfish (28), followed by blue marlin (27) and white marlin (13). Of all the fish recaptured in 2014, the longest time at large was a swordfish that swam for nearly eight years and was recaptured 877 miles from where it was originally tagged — from the Gulf of Mexico to off North Carolina. The longest straight-line distance for a tagged billfish was a white marlin tagged off St. Thomas, USVI, and recaptured off Virginia, 1,382 miles away and 1,297 days later.