Gamefish Tagging News July 2020

The rather disrupted 2019–20 gamefish fishing year ended on 30 June. Now is a good time to check that you have handed all you tag cards into a club or posted them to the new MPI address, at the bottom of this article. We need all clubs to post tag cards and any recapture information so they can be included in the annual report.

A summary of gamefish tagging results from previous years has been published by Fisheries New Zealand Here  Over the last 10 years 7,890 striped marlin have been tagged and released in New Zealand. Striped marlin recaptures are often variable over the short term and were highest with seven reported in 2015–16. Over the ten years there have been 26 striped marlin recaptures, 5 swordfish and 1 blue marlin recapture reported. This year there were two striped marlin tagged with the latest Pop-off Satellite Archival Tags by Members of the New Plymouth Sportfishing and Underwater Club. Both fish survived and their tags are due to report in October 2020. There are 10 more satellite tags ready to deploy from New Plymouth and Bay of Islands in conjunction with the IGFA Great Marlin Race and local sponsors, including the New Zealand Marine Research Foundation.

Satellite tagged striped marlin released from ‘Black Watch’ skippered by Paul Atmore.

Longest kingfish recapture

A kingfish tagged on 26 January 2000 was recaptured at the end of November last year 19 years and 10 months later.  A new record for a kingfish in New Zealand and anywhere as far as we know. When tagged it measured 98 cm and was estimated by Rick Pollock to be 16 kg when released at Rangitira Reef, Bay of Plenty. It was recaptured about 27 nautical miles away at Mayor Island by an Italian angler on Ben Pokaia’s charter boat Nomad.  It measured 148 cm and was weighed in a sling at 41 kg before being released in good condition. This means it was about 28 or 29 years old, the maximum age so far recorded for kingfish using growth rings in otoliths (balance bones).

There were also a couple of unusual coast to coast recaptures last year. Kingfish are often recaptured close to where they were released, or within 30 miles, even after long times at liberty. Long distance, even trans-Tasman recaptures have been recorded but they are not common.  Seven kingfish recaptures at liberty for over 600 days and recaptured last fishing year are shown on the map below (days at liberty red numbers).

Figure 1: Kingfish release and recapture locations reported in 2019–20 for fish at liberty for more than 600 days at liberty (red numbers).

Reporting recaptures

If you recapture a fish with a New Zealand tag in it you can enter it on this website. Please provide the same information you would put on a release card and include a postal address and shirt size for the tagging reward.

Change of Address
The Fisheries division of the Ministry for Primary Industries has moved to a new address at the MPI campus on Maurice Wilson Avenue, near Auckland Airport. If you are posting in the tag and information please note the new postal address for tag cards and recapture information:
Gamefish Tagging
Fisheries New Zealand
PO Box 53030
Auckland 2150