To tag or not to tag that is the question …!

Several guests have asked since we release all billfish anyway, why don’t we “tag our fish before release?”
This is my view and although it may seem to “fly in the face ” our strong environmental attitude, I don’t preach it but I do believe it.
The process of tagging “say” a marlin isn’t cruel or over demanding on the fish other than it delays the release for a few minutes (which can be crucial especially with predators around). The marlin is brought alongside and a dart with tag is inserted near to the leading edge of the dorsal fin at the same time the fish is measured before releasing.
However the recovery of the tag is much more difficult as this thin strip needs to be pulled from its back and it takes much longer for a successful recovery and so the fish is held in distress for much longer, or it is killed and brought aboard which seems to defeat the object.

So why do it?

We are told that tagging billfish will help us understand the migration routes of major fish species. This tagging process has been going on for many years (40 years ?) so imagine how many Blue Marlin have been tagged and tracked and how many more fish need to be tagged before we have definition?

What happens with the information?

We are told that this info is used to show the migration and breeding routes of marlin so that they can be avoided and stocks can be protected. But the information showing key spots are liberally shown on the internet, do we really believe that fishermen and especially commercial fishermen will avoid the places shown to be frequented by these fish?

Surely the less info we give to commercial fishers and even recreational fishers the safer the fish stocks.
So why is catch and release promoted? I don’t know of any government that promotes the idea , the sole promoter of tagging seems to be associations such as the IGFA who are the self-appointed “world authority “on big game fishing. This has become a massive organisation and seems to do very well on the proceeds.

I would be interested to hear your opinion. Tight lines ..capt Geoff