he sixth year of the IGFA Great Marlin Race is officially in the books, with a total of 57 tags deployed on blue, black and striped marlin in seven different countries. Altogether, these fish swam a combined linear distance — from the location of the tag deployment to the location of the tag pop-up — of 16,429 nautical miles, collecting 2,632 days of tracking data. The fish that swam the farthest last year and accounted for 8.5 percent of the total distance was an estimated 80-pound striped marlin that swam an incredible 1,397 nautical miles in 216 days.
Striped marlin are the most broadly distributed billfish in the Pacific Ocean. Think of their range in the context of a reverse C, with the base centered on the Central American coast and extending all the way to the northwestern and southwestern Pacific toward Japan and Australia. Genetic research indicates that there are at least three stocks of striped marlin: Australia/New Zealand, Japan/Hawaii/Southern California and Mexico/Central America, and perhaps even a fourth stock of mature fish in Hawaii.
Their broad distribution also necessitates that they are managed as different geographical units. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission manages striped marlin in the eastern Pacific, while the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission manages stocks in the western and central Pacific as well as the southwestern Pacific region. Currently,…