Another step forward for sport fishing and conservation
SSFC starts satellite tagging trial of sailfish and yellowfin tuna
Yellow fin tuna is also part of the 90 day trial period.
Following the successful satellite tagging program of marlin by the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club (SSFC), the association is now moving a step forward in its conservation drive and has now targeted sailfish and yellowfin tuna for its next project. SSFC has purchased three new Pop-Up Satellite Archival Tags (PSATs) from Canadian firm LOTEK and those will be deployed as a trial on two sailfish and one yellowfin tuna in the near future. PSATs, also known as a PAT tag, is an archival tag equipped with a means to transmit the collected data via the Argos satellite system. Its major advantage is that it does not have to be physically retrieved for the data to be made available, making it a viable fishery independent tool for monitoring animal behaviour and migration studies.
Speaking to TODAY Sports, SSFC’s Chairman Tarak Patel explained that following the experience and data gathered during the past three years as a result of its successful marlin satellite tagging program, SSFC wanted to move ahead with the tagging of sailfish as well because very little data is currently available on this billfish species. “This idea for tagging sailfish is unique and will be the first independent study to be done in the Indian Ocean” he said. “Our focus on sailfish is due to its importance to sport fishing and in addition sailfish is on the Seychelles coat of arms. Yellowfin tuna as well is of paramount importance to our tuna export industry thus anything we can learn about these two species will contribute greatly to the knowledge pool and to our blue economy” he revealed.
SSFC hopes that the satellite tagging of sailfish will be
as successful as the one being implemented with marlins.
SSFC has embarked on this new conservation trial together with its long term sponsor Savy & Sons Pty. Limited who has sponsored the three satellite tagging devices. “We are pleased to be a partner in this exciting experiment”, Guy Savy the Managing Director of Savy & Sons stated. “As an avid fisherman myself, I believe we must do our part to ensure that we learn as much about our fisheries as possible so that the coming generation can enjoy the sport as well”.
During the first 90-day trial, the scientific data collected will include the migration paths of these species, distance travelled, swimming depth, temperature, pressure and other important information. Such data will also be shared with the University of Seychelles for studies in the fisheries management programs. If the data collected turns out to be positive, SSFC will work with their partners to bring in additional tags and to continue the program. “It is important to continue our conservation efforts and to continue educating our youth and anglers on the importance of preserving these species for future generations. When brought to the citizen level the impact and reach can be greater as we have found out with the great marlin satellite tagging race,’’ Mr. Patel told TODAY sports.
Currently SSFC hosts seven annual tournaments, including a junior national fishing event for children under 16. Four of the tournaments operate under the strict International Game Fish Association (IGFA) catch and release rules for any billfish caught. SSFC is also working closely with IGFA on this new trial program whereby the latter has advised the club on numerous queries. SSFC has also been in contact with other groups that have implemented similar satellite tagging programs in other parts of the world.
The three satellite tags that will be used in the 90 day
trial for the tagging of sailfish and yellow fin tuna.
This new project is an exciting addition to what SSFC is already doing in its conservation efforts and it has been welcomed by all SSFC’s members as well as the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) who has also collaborated with SSFC on various projects in recent years. “We will continue to look for opportunities and avenues to educate our anglers and the community in general about species that are very common to Seychelles and the Indian Ocean, and such research will hopefully benefit our country in the future” concluded the SSFC Chairman.
Source: Today.sc 3-31-16