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IGFA Great Marlin Race crowns the 2013-14 winner

By Staff | Dec 25, 2014

Tagged marlin provide data on their travels. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE IGFA.

Entering its fifth year, the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) Great Marlin Race (GMR) continues to provide exciting and new information on the behavior and distribution of marlin. To date, they have placed 162 tags on 94 blue marlin, 49 black marlin, six striped and six white marlin, and seven sailfish have been tagged with satellite tags, during 19 IGMR events spread across 15 countries.

After eight successful tagging events around the world, the IGFA Great Marlin Race season came to a close. From Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014, data from 60 tags revealed that black, blue, and white marlin swam a combined linear distance of 26,312 nautical miles (nm) and a total estimated distance of 146,476 nm!

In the GMR, winners of each event are determined by the longest linear distance a billfish swims from the point the tag is deployed to the point the tag pops up. The overall winner is the sponsor of the marlin whose tag travels the farthest of all events in an entire race year.

Congratulations to Balboa Angling Club’s Marty and Mitchell Firestein, the winning sponsors of the 2013-14 race year! The father and son team sponsored a tag as part of the 54th annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) in Kailua-Kona, where the first Great Marlin Race was launched in celebration of the HIBT’s 50th Anniversary.

On Aug. 9, 2013, Marty placed the winning tag on an estimated 250-pound Pacific blue marlin caught by Mitchell aboard Hooked Up. After reaching the full deployment duration of 180 days, the tag surfaced on Feb. 5, 2014.

Their winning fish swam a linear distance of 2,883 nm south, and an estimated total distance of 12,594 nm, at speeds in excess of 100 nm per day. It almost reached the Pitcairn Islands, located just south of the Tropic of Capricorn on the 24th parallel, at the east end of French Polynesia. This distance is the second longest distance recorded by any billfish in the history of the GMR!

Marty and Mitchell have independently sponsored a tag each year since the GMR was launched in 2011. The IGFA has invited them to the 31st annual IGFA International Auction & Banquet on Jan. 30, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they will both be recognized for their great accomplishment and for their steadfast devotion to the conservation of billfish and our sport.