Friday, January 21, 2011

Exciting Times Indeed!

The past few weeks have been very exciting indeed for the Great Marlin Race.  It was an amazing experience to assemble the tracks as the final datasets came in, and see for the first time where all the marlin had gone, and how the tracks from 2010 compared to the ones we got in 2009.
Pacific blue marlin tracks from the Great Marlin Race 

2009 (orange) and 2010 (white)
When you see the tracks on top of one another, there are both similarities and differences that really stand out.  For instance, there seems to be a corridor, of sorts, to the southeast of Hawaii that several marlin followed both in 2009 and in 2010.  However, whereas several of the 2009 fish went on to head south towards the Marquesas, in 2010 we saw a broader diversity of destinations - both further west and further east.  It will be interesting to do more analysis on these tracks, to examine the underlying oceanography and see if we can get some clues as to why they may have done one thing one year, and something else in the next.  The take-home message, though, is that it is important to observe these kinds of migrations for several years running before making any broad generalizations about behavior, or the factors that shape it.

It has also been a very exciting time to look ahead to the future of the Great Marlin Race.  We have already received a grant from West Marine to support a tag in 2011, and we are working with a variety of other corporations, foundations and individuals to help our billfish research and conservation programs to continue to develop and to grow in the years ahead.  I look forward to sharing more information here as the details fall into place!

Finally, as always, I want to express our deepest gratitude to all the people who have supported, and continue to support the Great Marlin Race program.  To the anglers, captains and crews and all the folks at the HIBT, to the staff here at Hopkins Marine Station and the Center for Ocean Solutions, thank you for an amazing year!

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