Waterman's Journal

Feb 17, 2009

Tuna Tagging aboard ROYAL STAR


Location: Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico

"It was truly an amazing experience, tagging and releasing large yellowfin tuna up to 200 pounds..."


PELAGIC Pro Team Captain Brian Sims , along with veteran Royal Star skipper Tim Eckstrom recently shared their unique experiences of tagging and releasing trophy size Yellowfin Tuna with high-tech satellite tags at the remote Revillagigedo Islands off the coast of Mexico. For many years, the Royal Star's Randy Toussant and Tim Eckstrom have been highly successful at targeting Yellowfin Tuna and other pelagics out of San Diego's long range sportfishing fleet.

These guys are known for their uncanny ability to find fish when no-one else can find them... this might be one of the reasons that marine biologists have been tagging and studying Yellowfin Tuna on the Royal Star for many years. Working together, professional sportfishermen and marine biologists hope that the data gathered from tagging efforts like this will help ensure that both man and tunas can coexist and flourish together for many more future generations...

Check out their photo-report below...

Below: The Royal Star is one of the top producing charterboats out of San Diego's long range sportfishing fleet.

Below: The remote Revillagigedo Islands off the coast of Mexico are totally loaded with marine life.

Below: Tuna tagging aboard the Royal Star is a team effort, as the fish must be handled with great care to ensure their survival.

Below: These were not just ordinary tags, but high-tech satellite tags that required the fish to be taken out of the water, and quickly tagged and released.

Below: Some of the tags required a minor surgery to be performed on the fish... Marine Biologist Dr. Kurt Schaefer (left) is up to the task.

Below: The tagged fish will provide valuable data for scientists and fishery managers to better understand the habits of the magnificent Yellowfin Tuna. The fish were handled with extreme care so that marine biologists aboard the vessel could quickly take measurements, insert tags, and check the overall health of the tunas before the Royal Star crew gently released the fish...

Below: Marine biologist Dr. Dan Fuller (left) and Captain Tim Ekstrom (right) take measurements of a tuna just prior to release as a happy angler poses for a quick snapshot with his fish. According to Captain Ekstrom, "A special thanks goes out to all the gracious anglers on this trip, who voluntarily released all these fish in the name of science and conservation."

Below: PELAGIC PRO TEAM Captain Brian Sims (left) works quickly to get a tuna back in the water as soon as possible...

Below: A special net was used to carefully bring the fish up to the boat to be measured and tagged.

Below: A very nice healthy yellowfin tuna (below) poses for a quick photo just prior to release.

Not only did the team tag and release a record number of yellowin tuna, but also a few wahoo were tagged as well.

This trip aboard the _ Royal Star _was not only highly successful and unprecedented in terms of tagging, but this was truly an EPIC trip in terms of the sheer volume of fish... here's what Captain Ekstrom had to say...

"I can honestly speculate, based purely on observation... in all directions around Royal Star... out as far as several hundred yards... The incredible sight of hundreds of yellowfin tuna, all one hundred pounds and much larger, flying out of the water in spectacular leaps gouging cavernous pits in the ocean surface while slurping down thousands of doomed sardines was, incredibly enough, augmented by the possibly even more amazing sight of hundreds of big yellowfin laying under the bow of Royal Star rising like giant goldfish in a tank at feeding time to lap up hooked sardines as calm as people going about their business on any given day. Needless to say we got the final seven tags out and finished up the fishing portion of the voyage on the higest note imaginable. In fact, more than fifteen hours have passed since we departed and I am still energized from such a fitting end to a genuinely remarkable fishing trip."

--- Captain Tim Eckstrom ROYAL STAR

Check back at PelagicJournal.com often for more awesome reports from the Royal Star...

For more information or to book a trip on the world famous ROYAL STAR click here...