Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Second Marlin Journeys to the Southern Hemisphere

Electronic tagging is a game of numbers. You put out as many tags as you can afford, and you hope that it’s enough to help you learn something new. We went into the Great Marlin Race hoping that we'd get some new information -- but the past few weeks have exceeded our highest hopes!

As you know from my last posting, on October 23 we had a tag pop up southeast of the Marquesas Islands, in French Polynesia, marking a journey of 2,225 nautical miles – and establishing a new mark to beat in the race.

Last week, on November 4, we had another tag pop up south of the equator – this one just west of the Marquesas, about 480 nautical miles from where the tag popped up just a few weeks before. Although the fish hadn’t traveled quite as far as its predecessor – a mere 1,847 nautical miles – it is remarkable to have a second marlin make such a long journey in such a short time. We are indebted both to Paxson Offield for sponsoring the tag, and to McGrew Rice for deploying it after the HIBT had ended.

For both “Fish 4” and “Fish C” we are awaiting the arrival of the rest of the data – first from the tags themselves, and then from the orbiting satellites that monitored sea surface temperature during fishes’ journey. Once we have all those data in-hand, we’ll marry the datasets together to produce a map that shows the course that they traveled in their journeys south. Stay tuned!