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The Art of Ocean Conservation VOLUME 3, ISSUE 11 SPRING 2013 $6.95
Sword½sh Are Back
Critical lessons in successful conservation
& Fat Wahoo Fishing uncharted Fiji
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A SWORDFISH TALE
A SWORDFISH TALE It’s great to celebrate success, but it’s better to learn from it.
In a follow-up to last issue’s Battle for the Silver King story about
Swordfsh are back in a big way, thanks to hard work and some real
tarpon pressure in Boca Grande Pass, Florida, we’re highlighting an
sacrifces, but the victory has left the U.S. commercial feet unable
ongoing DNA study by the State of Florida that’s uncovering some
to catch its full quota of the replenished stock. According to the
amazing things about how and when tarpon move. The best part is
author, that’s something we need to fx.
you can help.
BY DR. JOHN E. GRAVES
BY KEVIN BAXTER & KATHY GUINDON
BAHAMAS BATTLEGROUND The lionfsh invasion in the Caribbean and southeastern U.S. is well documented, but solutions have been slow to emerge. In the Bahamas, one man believes the best way to check this new predator is to put it on the hit list of commercial fshermen. BY JOSEPH IERNA, JR.
On the Cover: Guy Harvey’s stunning depiction of twin sailﬁsh is titled Partners in Paradise.
12 14 16
Guy Harvey Guy gets behind a Caribbean-wide push for improved
Darwin’s Backyard A new GHO eco-resort is slated for the mother-of-all
conservation in the region’s most important habitats.
eco-destinations: the Galapagos Islands.
BY DR. GUY HARVEY
BY MARK ELLERT
Exclusive Content Online Our new website is full of new and exciting features.
Mako Madness New tracking studies show just how far and how fast
Use these QR codes to fnd some of our favorite parts
these torpedoes-with-teeth can move.
BY DR. MAHMOOD SHIVJI & DARYL CARSON
Top Talent This issue, we show support for budding fshery
Serious About Seafood Michael Howell is a son of a fsherman who found his
Einsteins, talk about the ultra-cool GHM concept boat,
calling in the kitchen. Recognized as one of Canada’s
rock out with Kenny Chesney and more.
best chefs, he’s big on sustainable seafood.
BY GHM STAFF
BY GHM STAFF
Jason Arnold Jason Arnold gives the star treatment to big-time game fsh and most anything else that swims.
Hooked on Smiles If there’s anything harder than landing a monster bonefsh on fy, it might be connecting with your teenager. BY FRED GARTH
FAST & FURIOUS
Support for Slots We’re not talking about casino bicep-builders, but smart
Fast & Furious Better known for surf breaks and scuba thrills, Fiji also
fshing regulations. There’s a great case for using slot
boasts world-class sportfshing. The author and his crew
limits to build and maintain fsh stocks.
hooked up with one of the few established fshing outfts
BY GUEST EDITOR NICK HONACHEFSKY
in the islands and landed a spot in the record books. BY BILL BOYCE
Eric Schwaab The process of creating fshing limits can seem murky at times and downright disconnected from
Bite. Camera. Action. Everything from pole-cams to troll-cams let the
reality at others. Here’s an insider’s view.
modern angler capture the big fght on video and
BY CA STAFF
create the ultimate fshing trophy. BY DARYL CARSON
Complete Angler (CA) is our “magazine within the magazine,” dedicated dedicated to hard-core ﬁshing enthusiasts and & delivering delivering access access to to experts, experts, thethe latest in ﬁshing latest in ﬁshing gear, and gearthe and hottest the hottest ﬁshingﬁshing spots spots on theon planet. the planet.
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GUY HARVEY MAGAZINE, Issue 11, Spring 2013. GHM is published four times per year (quarterly) for $24.95 per year by Lost Key Publishing, LLC, 7166 Sharp
Reef Road, Pensacola, Florida 32507. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Guy Harvey Magazine, PO Box 34075, Pensacola, Florida 32507. No part of this magazine can be reproduced without express written permission from Lost Key Publishing. Occasionally, we may make all or part of our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that ofer products and/or services that may interest you.
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CONTRIBUTOR’S PROFILE BILL BOYCE Bill Boyce was born and raised in California and earned his B.S. degree in fsheries biology from Humboldt State University. He spent the next 16 years as a federal fsheries biologist. Four were spent working for the U.S. Forest Service in Tahoe, CA; Glenwood Springs, CO; Ketchikan, AK; and Mt. Hood, OR. For the remaining 12 years, Bill did ofshore pelagic work for the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission at Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA. A love of travel and photography launched Boyce into a new career as a photographer and journalist, currently writing for six international publications. Involved in television productions for many years, as an executive producer and host, Boyce produced the award-winning TV series Angler’s Digest. The series became the highest awarded show on the Sportsman Channel in 2007, and won two TELLY Awards during its run on FOX Sports Net in 2008. The series still airs today, reaching 40 million households internationally.
JASON ARNOLD Jason Arnold is a third-generation commercial fsherman turned award-winning photographer. Arnold learned to respect marine wildlife at a very young age, and his passion for the sea continued as he spent his formative years as a professional surfer. The photos he took during his surfng career led him into commercial photography. After graduating from the Art Institute, Arnold began shooting professionally for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and other professional sports leagues. In addition to action photography, he became wellknown for portraits of pro athletes and celebrities, including iconic images of Pit Bull, Lebron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Phelps and many more. While the world of sports and celebrity photography was action-packed, Arnold never lost his attachment to the sea. He began shooting underwater images as a side project and it soon became his passion. Within six months, he was showcasing his photographs at Bass Pro Shop and in the top magazines in the fshing industry. Arnold’s underwater hobby has now become the successful Floridabased company Jason Arnold Underwater. His images are featured in top fshing and outdoors magazines and he shoots for companies such as Cressi Dive Gear, Invincible Boats, Berkeley, Eagle Claw, Okuma and Mercury Motors.
CARIBBEAN CHALLENGE INITIATIVE 2013 In May 2013, many of the heads of government of numerous Caribbean nations
caused throughout the Caribbean so
will be meeting in the British Virgin Islands to enact a meaningful program of
protecting vital reefs is a critical part
increased conservation and protection for coral reefs and their inhabitants. The
of any plan. When I was snorkeling
Nature Conservancy is working with environmental advocate Sir Richard Branson
the shallow reefs in the Silver Bank
to achieve the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.
observing humpback whales, I did not
As far back as 2008, the Bahamas got with several other Caribbean countries
see a fsh over 12 inches long and we
and launched a region-wide campaign to protect the health of the Caribbean
were 90 miles from any land! Apparently,
lands and waters. These Caribbean nations have committed to protecting 20% of
commercial aquarium fshermen using
the coastal and shallow reef habitat by 2020 from commercial fshing that uses
liquid cyanide to stun the fsh has wiped
fsh traps, gill nets, bottom fshing and longline fshing. While we recreational
out the population and also decimated
fshermen have long promoted conservation through catch and release and only
keeping what we might want to eat, many of the commercial techniques result in
GUY HARVEY, PhD
Due to increased population and
is an internationally-acclaimed
consumers in the Cayman Islands the
artist, fsherman, scientist, and
Department of Environment has recently
world traveler, who devotes
funding. Without a source of dedicated, sustainable fnance, any park, no matter
proposed a further 20% expansion of
much of his time and money
what size or how visionary, and no matter how well meaning were the people who
existing marine parks if this country
toward ocean conservation.
created it…no enforcement means no protection, which translates into a waste of
wishes to maintain the health of coral
time and diminished resources.
reefs, mangroves and related fsheries. There are gaps in terms of enforcement as
excessive by-catch or reef damage that ultimately afects the entire eco-system. Of course, creating a cooperative of Caribbean nations raises the question of
Currently, where I live in the Cayman Islands, we already have 25% protection
only seven ofcers are responsible for covering the entire country, but proposed
for shallow reef areas out to the insular dropof that restricts commercial fshing.
new laws will address this issue included in the new National Conservation Law
We all know the damage that unregulated commercial fshing and poaching has
that will further protect reefs, fsh resources for sustainable recreational fshing,
diving and viewing opportunities in the long term. From the perspective of getting things done, the Cayman Islands model is now a template for other Caribbean countries. In addition to a well established marine park system, there has been in place since 1998 a system for collection of $4 per
species at certain times of year, such as snapper and grouper SPAG (Spawning Aggregation) sites, are perfect examples of efective management policies. As more of these sites are discovered by scientists, so the protection web will spread. In the United States, there are now slot sizes for many fsh species caught
person who visits the country. These funds remain in the Environmental Protection
commercially and recreationally (see article, Support for Slots, page 46). These
Fund, primarily aimed at purchasing land to maintain pristine habitats. Over many
are some of the sustainable practices that need to be adopted and enforced
years, these funds have grown to more than $40 million USD. However, due to the
throughout the Caribbean. Catching and releasing large breeders or implementing
complex fnancial climate in the Cayman Islands, very little of this money has been
slot sizes ensures that we’ll be able to keep a fsh or two for the grill without
spent on defending the environment!
depleting the resource. The value of sportfshing, particularly the catch and release
The consensus is for a commitment to develop sustainable fnancing for
type, is major and has become very popular through the Caribbean. Interactions
protected areas through the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund with pledges up to $40
with sharks, rays, wild dolphins and fsh are extremely popular and generate much
million USD, half of that originating from The Nature Conservancy. The Caribbean
needed foreign exchange for those countries that have adopted this form of
Challenge Initiative may result in a transformation of each country’s national park
ecotourism. These activities are sustainable because they are non-consumptive for
systems with the aim of tripling the amount of marine and coastal habitat currently
the most part. The value of a living game fsh, a living shark, living reefs and back
under protection from commercial fshing. Recreational anglers would have slot
reef areas as well as mangroves goes well beyond the socio-economic value of
sizes and other management to cope with that is currently standard practice in
these systems to respective islands and countries.
the USA. In the Cayman Islands, the Department of Environment, together with a host of
It is our collective responsibility to conserve the marine environment and maintain the biodiversity of the planet. I hope the governments of all Caribbean
visiting research scientists, has a great track record of undertaking the basic studies
nations have the fortitude to do the right thing and embrace the Caribbean
required before designating specifc areas as marine protected areas. Without this
scientifc data, it is pointless to enact closures. Time and area closures for specifc
Tight Lines! Guy Harvey PhD
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Conservation Shawn Heinrichs produces another amazing video, featuring Richard Branson
Photo: Danny Clinch.
Kenny Chesney will headline the Tortuga Music Festival on the sands of Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida, April 13-14. This multi-day, multi-genre music festival is the frst in a series of events presented by Rock the Ocean (RTO) and themed around marine conservation. It will raise money for conservation groups, including the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, and fans can earn VIP privileges on-site by helping to spread the word and raising funds for the cause. Privileges include VIP admission, front row seats, artist meet and greets, exclusive merchandise and much more. Donations can be made to RTO at every point of sale, and fans can use digital tools provided by RTO to engage their social networks for soliciting donations and raising awareness. RTO is a 501(c)3 non-proft (pending IRS approval) organization that teams up with high
Top Talent Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Florida Sea Grant team up to support the next generation of marine science superstars.
profle musical artists and entertainers to educate the public on marine conservation issues.
BY STACI BIONDINI
Founder Chris Stacey is an avid ocean lover, freediver and 20-year music industry veteran.
As any Fortune 500 company or successful sports
The Tortuga Music Festival will bring to life his vision for a music festival that celebrates the
franchise knows, recruiting top talent is essential to
conservation of the world’s oceans. In addition to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, other
success. The same holds true for those with a passion
partners being supported include Nova Southeastern University, University of Miami’s RJ Dunlap
for marine conservation, which is why the Guy Harvey
Marine Conservation Program and The Ocean Conservancy.
scholarship award program is expanding and helping to
For more information, check out RocktheOcean.com. The Tortuga Music Festival will
foster the careers of a growing number of young, brilliant
feature Kenny Chesney, The Avett Brothers, Eli Young Band, Gary Clark, Jr., Michael Franti and
student scientists. Found on college campuses all across
Spearhead, G-Love & Special Sauce, Kip Moore, Gloriana, Sister Hazel and many other artists.
Florida, they represent the next generation of researchers
who will supply the knowledge that underpins successful ocean conservation eforts. The Guy Harvey scholarship award, jointly
cobia and mahi-mahi. “The Guy Harvey scholarship allowed me to purchase the equipment I needed to conduct my
administered by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation
research,” said Bignami, who plans to dedicate much
and the Florida Sea Grant College Program,
of his career to sharing the results of his research
recognizes full-time undergraduate and graduate
with key decision-makers. “It also helped me present
students at Florida universities who are working to
my fndings at the 12th International Coral Reef
better our renewable and fnite marine resources
Symposium in Cairns, Australia, and at The Ocean
through science. They are students like Sean Bignami,
in a High CO2 World International Symposium in
a 2012 Guy Harvey scholar and Ph.D. student at
the University of Miami. He is the frst researcher
Like Sean, many Guy Harvey scholars use their
attempting to quantify the efects of ocean
award monies to travel, report their research fndings
Left: Sean Bignami, 2012 Guy Harvey scholar from the
acidifcation on the larvae of two popular sport fsh,
and educate others. For example, the goal of 2012
University of Miami. Above: Felipe Carvalho, 2012 Guy
scholar and Brazilian native Felipe Carvalho’s research
Harvey scholar from UF. Photos: Florida Sea Grant.
is to train scientists and technicians to use remote sensing methods to track blue shark populations in
supporting students and common views about
the Atlantic Ocean.
having sustainable fsheries, so this partnership
Carvalho, a Ph.D. student at the University of
was a natural ft for our two programs,” said Havens.
Florida who has served six times as the Brazilian
“We both recognize there is a critical need to
national representative to ICAAT, the International
continually supply our workforce with highly trained
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas,
said the scholarship helped cover his travel expenses
Since the scholarship program began in 2010,
to South Africa to promote a workshop on statistical
the Foundation has awarded a total of $44,000 to 10
analysis of fsheries data.
students from seven Florida universities. In 2013, up
“As a result of that trip, cooperation between
to seven additional $5,000 scholarships will be given
the South African department of fsheries and the
to outstanding Florida students identifed through a
University of Florida was strengthened, and the
competitive application process.
assessment of commercial fshing impacts on shark
“The program began with just two scholars, and
populations in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean
each year the number of scholars and amount of
has been greatly improved,” he said.
money provided to scholars has grown,” said Havens.
The type of scientifc exploration and information
“It isn’t often that a scholarship program becomes
sharing exhibited in Bignami’s and Carvalho’s work is
so robust this quickly. Our students are doing a lot
what Florida Sea Grant Director Karl Havens and Guy
of great work and it will be interesting to see where
Harvey envisioned when they conceptualized the
their careers take them.”
scholarship over a lunch meeting in 2009. “Guy and I both have a strong interest in
Florida Sea Grant is a university-based partnership between the Florida Board of Education
From above left: Guy Harvey Scholars Christina Walker, UNF 2011; Mark Squitieri, USF 2011; Austin Todd, FSU 2010; Melinda Donnelly, UCF 2010; Chelsea Bennice, FAU 2011. Photos: Florida Sea Grant.
Guy Harvey scholar and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Sarah Stephens, UF 2012.
Administration that supports research and education to conserve coastal resources and enhance economic opportunities for Floridians. The 2013 Guy Harvey scholars will be announced in March on the Florida Sea Grant website. To catch up with the new recipients, fnd out more about past scholars, or learn about additional scholarship and fellowship opportunities for marine science students, visit the Florida Sea Grant page at FLSeaGrant.org/students/current-fellows.
GHM Concept Boat For 2013, Guy Harvey Magazine is assembling the ultimate fshing
machine—a 29-foot Ocean Runner center console. Wrapped head-to-toe in striking Guy Harvey art, it is being outftted with the latest in performance equipment, marine electronics, rods, reels, lures, lighting, coolers and more. The fnal product will be fully detailed for readers in the GHM summer issue and featured on the GHM website and Facebook page. For a hands-on experience, anglers in the Southeast will get to see the GHM concept boat at major boat shows and select tournaments during a year-long promotional tour. Following the tour, the boat will be sold to one lucky buyer, with proft from the sale going to support the Anglers Action Network and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
Here are of some of the places you will ﬁnd the boat on tour: Miami Billfsh Tournament . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 4–6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Miami, FL The Grove Slam Dolphin Tournament . . . . . . . . .May 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Miami, FL The Ultimate Shark Challenge . . . . . . . . . . . . . May 10–12. . . . . . . . . . Punta Gorda, FL World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament . . . . . . . . May 23–24. . . . . . . . . . Boca Grande, FL Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfsh Classic . . . . . . . June 10–15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Biloxi, MS Key West Lobsterfest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . August 9–11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Key West, FL Biloxi Seafood Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . September 14–15 . . . . . . . . . . . . .Biloxi, MS Pensacola Seafood Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . . September 27–29 . . . . . . . . . Pensacola, FL Destin Seafood Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .October 4–6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Destin, FL Gulf Shores Seafood Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . October 10–13. . . . . . . . . Gulf Shores, AL
Get your party on—Guy-style. Recently, the growing legion of GH fans has become so large and so passionate that a more formalized name and afliation seemed appropriate. In the tradition of Bufet’s “Parrotheads” and the Grateful Dead’s “Deadheads,” Guy’s fans have come to embrace the moniker “Hammerheads.” If you think all the buzz and general mayhem surrounding Guy Harvey, his art, and his dedication to fshing and the oceans is a good thing, then you’re a perfect candidate for joining the Hammerhead Nation. So, who exactly is a Hammerhead? Simply put, it’s any fan who has fully adopted the Guy Harvey lifestyle. Hammerheads share Guy’s passion for angling, diving, boating and travel—all balanced by a keen interest in conservation. A Hammerhead is any one of the thousands of fans that turn out for Guy’s signings, or the hundreds of thousands that connect with Guy via social media. A Hammerhead probably has a closet full of Guy’s iconic T-shirts, as well as a hat, belt and Tervis tumbler for keeping important beverages at an optimal temperature. And Hammerheads always thinks “Tight lines!” is an appropriate closing for any conversation. And, of course, they love Guy Harvey Magazine and guyharveymagazine.com. If that sounds like you, put down your GH tumbler and log onto guyharveymag.com/HammerHeadNation to fll out a simple form and you’re in! That’s it—no membership fees, no commitments. As a Hammerhead, you’ll be part of a passionate, active group of people who share your obsession with fshing, marine art and with conserving what’s important. You’ll also receive: • Monthly e-newsletter full of exclusive content • Special oòers and discounts from Guy Harvey licensees and partners • Access to contests and giveaways • Sneak previews of new merchandise and special edition gear • Special access to Guy Harvey at public signings Tight Lines!
Photo: Guy Harvey.
A SWORDFISH TALE
Swordŏsh are back from the brink, and there are critical lessons to learn from our success. BY DR. JOHN E. GRAVES
A few weeks ago, I went up to the seafood counter in my local grocery store and was excited to see fresh, North Atlantic swordﬁsh displayed. I asked the lady behind the counter if she could tell me if the swordﬁsh was caught by U.S. vessels. I was a little surprised when a gentleman on my left asked, “Is it okay to eat swordﬁsh? I thought they were in trouble.” (This is a common misconception.) The simple answer is that, yes, it’s okay to eat swordﬁsh. Regular Guy Harvey Magazine readers may recall that in the summer 2011 issue, North Atlantic swordﬁsh was one of 10 recovered ﬁsheries that Kevin Palmer featured in his article “Bright Spots In Our Seas.” In fact, the recovery of swordﬁsh stocks is one of the great success stories of modern ﬁsheries management, but there are some interesting twists to the tale.
One is that allowing swordfsh to recover required
of one or two countries. With a limited number of
about the levels of mercury in swordfsh virtually shut
a signifcant economic sacrifce by the U.S.
players, it is easier to develop an allocation scheme
down the U.S. market and, as a result, the Canadian
commercial swordfsh feet. And while that sacrifce
(sharing arrangement) for the resource and the
and U.S. swordfsh fsheries. It was only in 1978 when
was necessary—some might even say noble—it
timeline for a rebuilding program. However, for
the U.S. revised mercury standards that the U.S. and
has left us in a precarious position to be able to
a highly migratory species like swordfsh, it is
Canadian swordfsh fsheries in the western North
continue protecting what we’ve worked so hard
much more difcult to develop a consensus on
Atlantic began to recover.
to save. Part of this dynamic is that a very efective
an allocation scheme and a rebuilding strategy.
During the 1980s, landings of North Atlantic
public campaign to “give swordfsh a break” still
(Swordfsh typically interact with fsheries both
swordfsh increased rapidly, peaking at just over
lingers in the minds of many ecologically concerned
within and outside the exclusive economic zones
20,000 metric tons (mt) in 1987. While the U.S.
consumers. This is having a detrimental impact not
of several nations that difer in their levels of
accounted for about one-fourth of this catch, much
only on the U.S. swordfsh feet, but potentially on
development, history in the fshery, reliance on
of the increase resulted from growth of the Spanish
many of the bycatch species (marine mammals, sea
fsheries for protein and/or export revenue, etc.) But
longline feet, which almost tripled its landings
turtles, billfshes and sharks) that are impacted by the
while it may be difcult, it is not impossible.
to 11,000 mt. In addition, Portugal, which had
international swordfsh fshery. If future management
The swordfsh fshery goes back for several
a small, historical harpoon and handline fshery
eforts for other species are to have a happy ending,
centuries in the Mediterranean Sea, but along the
for swordfsh, aggressively developed a longline
it will require learning some important lessons from
Atlantic coast of North America, it really developed in
fshery in the mid-1980s with signifcant catches.
our swordfsh success.
the early 1800s, with harpooners targeting large fsh
Following this peak, North Atlantic swordfsh
that basked in surface waters of New England. The
landings decreased in the following years, causing
requires a little understanding of the challenges
harpoon fshery expanded throughout the western
some concern for the resource among the member
in managing such a highly migratory species. Not
North Atlantic over the next 150 years, but in the
nations of the International Commission for the
surprisingly, most of the success stories highlighted
To begin, learning from the swordfsh story
1950s and 1960s, landings in the developing pelagic
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), who jointly
in Kevin’s article
longline fshery, which interacted with small as well
manage the tuna and tuna-like species (including
were for stocks
as large swordfsh, quickly outpaced the harpoon
swordfsh) in the Atlantic.
that reside within
fshery. In the early 1960s, Canada had the major
swordfsh fshery in the North Atlantic. In the late
its frst management measure for North
1960s, U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerns
Atlantic swordfsh. Among other things,
4,727 in 1972
In 1990, the Commission adopted
20,224 in 1987
North Atlantic Swordﬁsh Landings
they required parties to reduce fshing mortality and
appear that consensus would be achieved, but
annual quotas for North Atlantic swordfsh, and when
implemented a minimum size (55 lbs. 125 cm./49 in.
realizing the importance of getting a formalized
the landings approached the quota, the U.S. North
lower jaw fork length). However, this proved to have
sharing arrangement, the U.S., with support from our
Atlantic swordfsh fshery was shut down. Spain
limited efect. At the 1994 Commission meeting,
commercial fshermen, agreed to an allocation that
and Portugal achieved their landings reductions by
ICCAT took action again. It was realized that a multi-
represented a reduction from their long-term share
moving swordfsh fshing eforts (vessels) from the
step process would be required. First, the major
of historical landings.
North Atlantic to the South Atlantic and beyond.
players targeting North Atlantic swordfsh (Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States) accepted
In 1996, there was a new assessment of North Atlantic swordfsh showing that overfshing was
a two-year measure covering 1995 and 1996 that established quota limits for the frst time. It was also agreed that a longterm sharing arrangement (allocation) would be developed the following year. The allocation discussions at the 1995 ICCAT meeting were long and difcult, even with a limited
While fshing mortality was being decreased in the North Atlantic, the swordfsh recovery fortuitously got a big boost from Mother Nature.
Not all of the countries that made the sacriﬁces to rebuild the stock have fully beneﬁtted from recovery, most notably the United States.
number of major harvesters.
Large catches of young swordfsh (age 0 and 1) in 1997, 1998 and 1999 indicated that there had been high recruitment (spawning success) producing strong year classes. Providing these fsh protection to reach spawning size would greatly accelerate stock recovery. It was during this time that the environmental community also began to promote public awareness of the condition of the North Atlantic swordfsh stock. In January 1998, the “Give Swordfsh a Break”
Each nation had a diferent perspective on how
still occurring. Fishing mortality had to be further
campaign was launched in the United States to
the resource should be divided based on fshing
reduced. With country-specifc quota shares in place,
discourage the consumption of Atlantic swordfsh.
history. Canada, which had a major fshery in the late
it was easier (but not necessarily easy) to get nations
Through this well-publicized efort, many upscale
1950s and early 1960s, preferred a long timeframe,
to agree to a lower total allowable catch. Each nation
restaurants and high-end fsh markets stopped
while Portugal, who had ramped up catches over
would still maintain their fraction of the pie, but with
selling swordfsh. The campaign hit the U.S. longline
the past few years, only wanted to consider recent
a lower total allowable catch. In the United States, the
fshery, a fshery that produces primarily fresh fsh
catches. Ultimately, it was a negotiation. It did not
National Marine Fisheries Service implemented semi-
for local consumption, particularly hard. However,
High landings of North Atlantic Swordfsh throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in an overfshed stock with biomass levels well below those necessary to support maximum sustainable yield. Strong conservation measures promoted rapid recovery of swordfsh, as documented by a series of stock assessments (orange charts). Today, the biomass exceeds that necessary for maximum sustainable yield.
the impacts on imports of frozen swordfsh were not
1999, restricting participation to those vessels with
past 10 years, the biomass of North Atlantic swordfsh
as pronounced, as imported swordfsh reached an
a history in the fshery. To protect juvenile swordfsh,
has continued to improve and was recently (2009)
a series of areas along the U.S. South Atlantic coast
estimated to be 105% of that necessary to support
and in the Gulf of Mexico with historically high
maximum sustainable yield. With a rebuilt stock,
improvement. The biomass had increased from 58%
By 1999, the North Atlantic stock showed signs of
catches of juvenile swordfsh were closed seasonally
ICCAT has increased total allowable catch to
to 65% of that necessary for maximum sustainable
or permanently to pelagic longline fshing. The quota
13,700 mt, allowing for quota increases for those
yield. At that year’s ICCAT meeting, with leadership
reduction and closed areas were the straws
from the United States, and strong support from U.S.
that broke the backs of many U.S. pelagic
swordfsh fshermen and environmental groups, the
longline fshermen. Over the next several
Commission adopted a 10-year rebuilding program
years, almost one-half of the boats would
for North Atlantic swordfsh, with continuing stepped
leave the fshery. Many were too small to
reductions of total allowable catch, drawing down to
safely fsh outside of the closed areas, while
10,400 mt in 2002.
others were simply unable to turn a proft
The lower total allowable catch resulted in smaller country-specifc swordfsh quotas, and the lower semi-annual
with the reduced quotas and competition with less expensive foreign imports. The good news is that it did not take long
Many U.S. consumers, including some high proﬁle chefs, are simply not aware that the North Atlantic swordﬁsh stock is now rebuilt.
for the swordfsh stock to recover. At the 2002
in the United States
assessment, the biomass of North Atlantic
further reduced the
swordfsh had increased to 94% of that
fshing season for the
necessary to support maximum sustainable yield. The
countries that took reductions to rebuild the stock,
U.S. pelagic longline
resource was nearly rebuilt. The 10-year rebuilding
as well as quota for new participants in the fshery.
feet. In addition, the U.S.
plan developed in 1999 had only been implemented
National Marine Fisheries
for two years. Clearly, the previous eforts by ICCAT
an international management success story, but
Service established a
to reduce fshing mortality and the good recruitment
not all of the countries that made the sacrifces to
limited entry system for
events of 1997 and 1998 had a major impact on
rebuild the stock have fully beneftted from recovery,
the swordfsh fshery in
rebuilding North Atlantic swordfsh. And over the
most notably the United States. At the peak of the
Number of U.S. Swordﬁsh Vessels Reduced swordfsh quota from ICCAT, the implementation of closed areas to protect juvenile swordfsh and bycatch species, and reduced consumer demand for fresh U.S. swordfsh has had a devastating efect on our swordfsh feet.
The recovery of North Atlantic swordfsh is clearly
swordfsh fshery, the majority of efort in the U.S. fshery was represented by smaller vessels. When ICCAT reduced the total allowable catch and countryspecifc quotas, those vessels were too small to move to the South Atlantic or other oceans, and similarly, most were too small to safely fsh outside of the U.S. closures to protect juvenile swordfsh—they simply could no longer make a go of it in the fshery. Those vessels that remained in the fshery experienced additional regulatory challenges. During 2001, the National Marine Fisheries Service was required to close the Northeast Distant Region, a large section of productive swordfsh grounds encompassing the U.S. exclusive economic zone and international waters of New England and Canada, to U.S. fshermen in an efort to reduce bycatch interactions with endangered sea turtles. Unfortunately, these conservation measures did not apply to other nations, and due to a lack of coherence between U.S. laws that require conservation actions and those that regulate trade, it was still legal to import swordfsh caught by other nations in waters closed to U.S. fshermen. The U.S. pelagic longline fshery collaborated with the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop fshing techniques that signifcantly reduced sea turtle bycatch and bycatch mortality. It was found that interactions with sea turtles were greatly reduced with the use of large circle hooks and specifc baits, and when the Northeast Distant Region was reopened in 2003, all U.S. pelagic longline vessels were required to employ these terminal gear confgurations. As with the previous closed area, these terminal gear requirements, which resulted in small, but signifcant reductions in the catch rates of swordfsh and some other target species, only applied to U.S. fshermen. Consequently, U.S. fshermen continue to compete with fresh and frozen product exported to the United States from feets that are not required to implement the same bycatch
Guy Harvey and daughter Jessica in 2012 with the largest swordfsh cought on a rod and reel by a female angler in the last 30 years. Caught of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, it’s a prime example of what’s possible when reduced fshing pressure allows more swordfsh a chance to live longer and grow larger. The fsh was not wasted and was eaten by many.
reduction measures as our fshermen—they are not
of the closed areas. As a result, the United States has
unused U.S. swordfsh quota is reallocated to these
competing on a level playing feld.
not been able to harvest its quota of North Atlantic
nations, bycatch mortality on other stocks, including
In addition to the new bycatch regulations,
swordfsh. Until a few years ago, U.S. fshermen were
those that are highly overfshed as well as protected
the U.S. swordfsh feet was (and still is) plagued
catching only about half of the base quota, although
species, would increase. In addition, it is likely that
by poor market demand, which seems largely to
that has improved somewhat over the past few years.
some of that swordfsh would be exported to U.S.
be a hangover from the “Give Swordfsh a Break”
The fact that the United States has unused
markets, further depressing the price for U.S.-
campaign. Unfortunately, as demonstrated in my trip
swordfsh quota has not gone unnoticed at ICCAT.
to the market a few weeks ago, many U.S. consumers,
Many developing and developed nations would
including some high profle chefs, are simply not
like more swordfsh quota, and they see the unused
re-educate the public about North Atlantic swordfsh:
aware that the North Atlantic swordfsh stock is now
U.S. quota as fair game. So far, the United States has
the stock is rebuilt and it supports a healthy,
rebuilt and supports a healthy, sustainable fshery.
been able maintain its quota share, arguing that
sustainable fshery. It is also important to support the
It seems that in this case, the good news has not
our feet, which had a very large role in the recovery
U.S fshermen, as they made the greatest sacrifces
of the resource, has undergone signifcant change
to rebuild the stock and continue to utilize the best
Together, these issues have created a new
caught swordfsh. The best way to turn the situation around is to
and needs time to rebuild, and that our unused
practices and the most comprehensive bycatch
swordfsh problem for the United States—one of not
quota represents a conservation investment in the
mitigation measures of any feet. So, the next time
being able to catch our entire available quota. As the
rebuilding process. However, those arguments will
you’re in a restaurant or at the seafood counter of
swordfsh resource recovered, ICCAT increased the
probably not keep the wolves at bay for much longer.
your grocery store, think about U.S.-caught, fresh
total allowable catch for North Atlantic swordfsh,
For the United States at ICCAT, it is a matter of “use it
Atlantic swordfsh. The break is over: they’re back,
and the annual quota in the U.S. grew. However, we
or lose it.”
and they are mighty tasty.
no longer had the feet capacity to catch our growing
Other than the obvious, a big downside of losing
quota. And with low prices, caused by reduced
U.S. swordfsh quota is that our fshermen comprise
market demand for fresh swordfsh and increased
the best regulated and most conservation-oriented
competition with fsh imported from countries that
feet in the North Atlantic. Our bycatch catch rates
allowed country-specifc quotas to be increased 10
do not require the same bycatch reduction measures
of turtles, marine mammals, sharks and billfshes
years ago, but the United States has not been able
that we do, there has been little economic incentive
are signifcantly lower than those of the nations that
to build new, larger vessels to fsh in waters outside
would like to obtain our unused quota. So if the
Recovery of the North Atlantic swordfsh stock
to take advantage of its increased quota. Loss of U.S. quota to other countries could have negative consequences for bycatch species such as marine mammals, sea turtles, billfshes and sharks.
3907 U.S. Base Quota
U.S. Swordﬁsh Landings
Lionfsh populations are quickly expanding in the Bahamas and elsewhere, becoming a more common sight for divers. Photo: Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas. Below: Lionfsh lifecycle. Illustration: Dawn Witherington for Loxahatchee River District and The Nature Conservancy.
Editor’s note: This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the lionfish epidemic.
BY JOSEPH IERNA, JR.
Just eight years ago, while diving in the crystal clear waters off of Long Island in the Southern Bahamas, it was rare to see one of them on the reefs. Today, however, the Pterois, commonly know as “lionﬁsh,” has taken up permanent residency in Bahamian waters, and it’s clear they have no
intentions of leaving anytime soon. Like just about every other visitor to these islands, they seem to prefer to stay in paradise. Unfortunately, lionﬁsh have not just invaded the Bahamas. They’re now plaguing tropical and subtropical waters from South America to the Atlantic Seaboard.
Eating a broad range of fsh, crustaceans and
As a result, there has been a rising tide of resistance
hover like helicopters on the shallow reefs. However,
mollusks, lionfsh are capable of consuming prey up
among recreational anglers, commercial fshermen
many divers have observed that lionfsh are fast
to half their size. Their diet includes commercially,
learners and can become savvy to divers with spears,
recreationally, and ecologically important species
so it’s best to “whack’em!” all whenever you see them.
such as juvenile groupers, snappers, hogfsh, and many reef fsh, including grazers and cleaner fsh, all
While large groupers, sharks and even morey eels
sting from a lionfsh is not fatal to humans, like any
of which are important in keeping our oceans and
have been observed consuming lionfsh, studies
sting, it can be painful, and swelling may occur in
reefs healthy. There is widespread agreement that
indicate that these are rare occurrences, and that
the afected area. Each person reacts diferently, so if
without implementing new measures of control of
lionfsh have no natural predators in this part of
needed, it’s best to seek medical attention.
the lionfsh populations, the native species of the
the world. That leaves man as the primary answer
Bahamian reefs will continue to be consumed at an
to lionfsh eradication. The most efective method
prominence that The Bahamas Department of Marine
unprecedented rate. This includes the possibility of
has been to spear them, or as Dr. Guy Harvey
Resources (DMR) has an environmental awareness
some commercial species even being reduced to
so eloquently says, “Whack’em!” It’s legal in the
and education program in place. They distribute
unsustainable levels. Simply put, lionfsh are a direct
Bahamas, and highly efective, to shoot lionfsh with
brochures and handbooks on safe handling of
threat to the fshing and tourism industries, which are
a Hawaiian sling or pole spear while freediving. The
lionfsh, and the College of the Bahamas (COB)
a vital part of the Bahamas and Caribbean economy.
fsh are usually very easy to spear, as they tend to
Marine and Environmental Sciences Institute is
The only danger is from the fsh’s spines. Although a
The lionfsh issue has gained enough
Opposite: This beauty, seen here in its home Pacifc waters of Fiji, is a beast when found in the Caribbean region, thanks to venomous spines and a lack of natural predators. Photo: Bill Boyce. Portrait of an Invasion
• Lionfish were introduced by humans into local waters. The invasive lionfish quickly become established in Atlantic ecosystems.
• Invaders take advantage of an
overfished sea. Over-harvest of large predators that may eat lionfish, or compete with lionfish for prey, may have set the stage for proliferation.
• Lionfish are formidable. Their
The red lionfish is an invasive species native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Their human-caused introduction and subsequent population increase are now causing negative impacts on marine ecosystems in the southeastern seaboard of the U.S. and the Caribbean Sea. Lionfish are efficient predators invading a variety of natural and artificial habitats, competing with native predator fish and consuming smaller fishes, including the young of large species. A similar species, the devil firefish, Pterois miles, has also been observed in the Atlantic.
venomous spines and unique appearance may deter potential predators and make them unrecognizable as prey.
• Lionfish reproduce quickly.
Lionfish are able to breed yearround, as frequently as every 4 days, and mature at a young age.
• Lionfish may out-compete
native predators. Native species, such as snappers and groupers, may not be able to compete with lionfish for food and habitat.
• Lionfish can decimate reefs. With
their voracious appetites, lionfish can reduce populations of juvenile and small fish on coral reefs by up to 90 percent. Lionfish may indirectly affect corals by overconsuming grazing parrotfishes, which normally prevent algae from growing over corals.
Lionfish are effective predators. Their techniques include ambushing prey, cooperative hunting, and “corralling” with their fan-like pectoral fins. Lionfish can consume substantial numbers of small fish and crustaceans in one feeding, reducing small fish populations by up to 90 percent.
Observations of red lionfish have been recorded on coral patch reefs and deep reefs (up to 1000 feet deep or 305 meters), wrecks, mangroves, seawalls, docks, and estuaries ranging from the northeastern U.S. and Bermuda to the western Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean Sea.
What Do Lionfish Eat? Lionfish are indiscriminate predators that will consume many prey small enough to fit in their mouth, including the young of important fishery species such as grouper and snapper and ecologically important species such as parrotfishes. Lionfish may impact fishery populations which may impact local economies. Small S mall fish fish recognize recognize reef re e f p redators, ssuch uch as as snappers, snappers, but but predators, m ay not not recognize recognize lionfish lionfish as as may p redators. predators. Small crabs
Juvenile spiny lobster
Life Cycle Shrimps
Wrasses Eggs, 15,000–30,000 per spawning event.
Larval stage, 20–40 days less than 2 cm (0.8 in)
Every 4 days year-round the female releases two mucousencapsulated egg masses that are fertilized by the male.
Approximately 36 hours later, the eggs hatch into larvae, which are dispersed by ocean currents.
The Venomous Spines Lionfish have two grooves on each spine. These grooves are filled with venom-producing tissue. After the spine punctures the skin, the venom glands release a potent neurotoxin that travels up the grooves into the wound. First aid for stings: Take a pain reliever and soak the wound in hot water. Consult a physician as soon as possible. 11‒13 Groove Ridge
2 Groove Ridge
Venomous spines Non-venomous rays
Juvenile, up to 10 months 2–10 cm (0.8–4 in)
Reproductive adult, 1 year 10–20 cm (4–8 in)
Juveniles spend most of their time in one small area but can live in a wide range of habitats.
Although lionfish in their native range can live to 15 years, little is known about the lifespans of Atlantic invaders.
Nassau grouper juveniles
How to Help • Never release aquarium fish into the wild. • Report lionfish sightings to your local or national marine regulatory agency. • Participate in lionfish tournaments to reduce local lionfish populations. • Eat more lionfish. Their white, flaky meat is delicious. • Wear thick gloves when handling to prevent injury. Venomous spines can be removed by carefully cutting with shears, making it easier to handle the fish safely.
Turrell, Hall & Associates, Inc. marine & environmental consulting
Loxahatchee River District “Preserving Nature by Design” TM Poster Series, No. 7 www.loxahatcheeriver.org
NSF grant No. 08-51162 NSF grant No. 12-33027
&RS\ULJKW 'DZQ :LWKHULQJWRQ
Right: The red dots represent confrmed lionfsh sightings. Below: Lionfsh are highly efective predators that ambush a wide range of prey. Illustrations and map: Dawn Witherington for Loxahatchee River District and The Nature Conservancy. For the full poster, see loxahatcheeriver.org
Invasion! Many anglers and divers are becoming familiar with the lionfsh story. It’s a prime example of the success an invasive species can have when conditions are just right for its survival. A native of the Indo Pacifc and Red Sea regions, these venomous marine fshes are popular aquarium fsh, and of the nine diferent species, the Pterois volitans (red lionfsh) and Pterois miles (common lionfsh) were accidentally introduced into the Atlantic Ocean of of South Florida, sometime in the early 1990’s. Today, lionfsh can be found in waters as far north as Maine, as far south as Venezuela, east to Barbados, and there have even been sightings of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Lionfsh can live up to 15 years, can grow seven inches per year, can begin to reproduce at six months old and can lay as much as 15,000 eggs on a monthly basis. That kind of reproductive math, along with the fact that there are no natural predators for lionfsh in these waters, means populations continue to thrive and multiply at an unsustainable rate. The environmental efects of this predator are likely to be widespread and devastating to the natural ecology of Bahamas reefs.
conducting genetic research on the species origin
locally on some Bahamas islands by the fsh houses
fund would be used to supplement the price ofered
as well as conducting targeted surveys to more
and one of the Bahamas’ larger fsh houses, Tropic
by the fsh houses, increasing the price per pound of
precisely defne the impact the species is having on
Seafoods, in Nassau. However, lionfsh is a very small
fllet and encouraging more commercial fshermen
our reefs. Along with the education and research
fsh, on average one pound, so the amount of work
to pursue the species. It’s hoped that as lionfsh,
eforts, many local groups have put the “whack’em!”
to catch, clean and process the fsh is not attractive to
which have a delicate and desirable fesh, grow in
strategy to good use by organizing lionfsh derbies
the commercial fsherman at present prices (fuel cost
popularity among consumers, the market would
with cash prizes ofered to the winners. This has
alone in the Bahamas is almost $6 per gallon.) The
proven to be an efective measure to combat the problem in localized areas, but it’s clear that a greater efort will be needed for long-term success. “The extent of the marine territory of the Bahamas—over 100,000 square miles—coupled with the general habitat preference of lionfsh, deems management of this invasive species very difcult or impractical,” says Lakeshia Anderson of the Bahamas National Trust. She also says that some popular misconceptions about lionfsh spread during the early days of “the invasion” are making it more difcult to promote lionfsh as a true fsheries resource. “The term ‘venomous’ has created somewhat of a disinterest for individual consumption of lionfsh,” she says.
GOING COMMERCIAL That misconception is unfortunate, because as many see it, the best long-term solution for controlling lionfsh is to have them be pursued by commercial fshermen and consumed by the public. That’s the position of the Ocean Crest Alliance (OCA), a non-proft organization operating in the U.S. and the Bahamas, which wants to help create a more lucrative market for lionfsh meat. The OCA is working with the Bahamas National Trust, The Nature Conservancy and other concerned groups toward creating a funding program to assist Bahamian fsh houses in purchasing lionfsh from the local commercial fshing feet. Presently, lionfsh fllet is being bought and sold
Right top: Miguel (driver) and Enrico Burrows of Constantakis Sea Enterprises, along with owner Angelo Constantakis (right) are part of the local efort of Bahamian fshermen to turn the tide on lionfsh. All spearing must be done while freediving—no tanks allowed.
It’s an idea that has merit in the minds of some industry professionals.
Handle with Care
“A program of this type is desirable, of beneft to the economy and a good
Cleaning lionfsh is not difcult, but handling them is easier when using the correct
measure for conservation,” says Jon Chaiton of Tropic Seafood. Chaiton also
tools and a little common sense. Lionfsh are members of the scorpion fsh family, so
would like to see greater education about properly handling and cleaning
it’s important to avoid their venomous spines. This is best done with a good pair of
lionfsh so that it becomes more accessible to the public.
puncture-resistant gloves and some kitchen shears. Once the fsh is dead, simply cut
George Constantakis, owner of Constantakis Sea Enterprises, located
of all the spines. Once removed, there is little chance of getting stung. You can cook
on Long Island in the Southern Bahamas, agrees. “This new lionfsh
the fsh whole or fllet like any other fsh. Small but delicious, the lionfsh is very
program would be a great beneft to the fshermen, the local economy and,
tasty and an excellent choice for ceviche, with sweet onions, vine ripe tomatoes,
ultimately, to the conservation concerns with the lionfsh on our reefs,” he
herbs from the garden, lime and chili pepper, to taste.
says. “These lionfsh are eating everything and they have no enemies!” Constantakis has even ofered to help combat the lionfsh issue locally. “My fsh house could ofer a weekly or monthly bonus to each one of the dive teams, that whoever returns that week with the most lionfsh will receive a bonus of $500 or $1,000. This would be for whole fsh, and then the fsh house will process the fsh and market the product to the restaurants.”
A NEW DELICACY Lionfsh is an excellent tasting fsh with delicate white fesh, and the OCA has visions of marketing it as a “boutique” product that can be sold and prepared at restaurants throughout the nation. If successful, the program may become a model that can be adapted in other locales as governments and industry alike wrestle with ways to handle this aggressive species. It seems evident that without the assistance of man, lionfsh populations will continue to take over the tropical reefs of the Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean waters, with a devastating long-term efect. In this solution, perhaps controlling the problem can also help support local fshing and tourism industries. For more information, visit oceancrestalliance.org.
Venomous Spines Lionfsh have two grooves on each spine. These grooves are flled with venom-producing tissue. After the spine punctures the skin, the venom glands release a potent neurotoxin that travels up the grooves into the wound. First aid for stings: Take a pain reliever and soak the wound in hot water. Consult a physician as soon as possible.
Ordinary anglers help DNA specialists unravel the mysteries of tarpon movements.
BY KEVIN BAXTER & KATHY GUINDON
Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up to our coverage of tarpon research by the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust in South Carolina (Lowcountry Kings, summer 2012) and highlights the ongoing efforts of a DNA study by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in which anglers are collecting important data on tarpon throughout the Southeast.
DNA samples can be taken quickly while keeping the tarpon in the water. it was sampled a third time after another month. Tarpon travels over this distance, more than 100 miles, represent what biologists refer to as regional movements. But data proves that tarpon travels do not stop there. The greatest distance between a tarpon’s catch and sampling locations is approximately 280 miles. That fsh was caught near Apalachicola in the Florida Panhandle before it was recaptured near Captiva Island in Southwest Florida almost two years later. Other tarpon recaptures show an individual fsh may return to the same location in subsequent years. One adult tarpon sampled in Southwest Florida’s Boca Grande Pass in June returned to the pass during spawning season one year later. A second tarpon caught and sampled in the pass in June was recaptured two years later. These fsh provide evidence that some adult tarpon return to the same spawning aggregation areas.
you’re into fsh stories and detective work, then you’re a perfect candidate to help with a project called the Tarpon Genetic Recapture
Anglers interested in getting involved can help biologists by sampling any tarpon they catch. DNA sample kits can be ordered by calling (800) 367-4461, or
Study. Beneath the crisp academic moniker is a fascinating and constantly
emailing TarponGenetics@MyFWC.com. Kits are also available at participating
unfolding tale about the habits and travels of tarpon in the southeast. The
retailers. All kits are free and are paid for by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) runs the study
Restoration Act, Project F-59, and the State of Florida’s tarpon tag program.
along with partners at Mote Marine Laboratory. Anglers get involved by
The kits have no expiration date and samples require no refrigeration. More
supplying much of the manpower and feldwork, as volunteers gather
information is available online at MyFWC.com/Research. Click on “Saltwater”
DNA samples from each tarpon they catch. FWC geneticists then use DNA
and select “Tarpon Genetics” under “Tarpon.”
fngerprinting to process submitted samples, allowing scientists to compare DNA profles against those already in the database to see if the tarpon has been caught and sampled before. In 2012, hundreds of anglers caught and sampled tarpon, and aspects of the study were incorporated into two dozen diferent tarpon tournaments. Thanks to public support and participation in Florida and throughout the southeastern U.S., more than 17,000 tarpon DNA samples have been collected and returned to project scientists as of January 2013. Evaluations of DNA profles completed through November 2012 identifed 143 tarpon as recaptures. Biologists use recapture data to learn more about catch rates and seasonal movement patterns of individual fsh, as well as the overall tarpon population structure. Over time, biologists are able to assess tarpon stocks and better understand the relationship between tarpon and diferent bodies of water. Emerging movement patterns have shown a connection between tarpon habitats in southwest Florida and those of the Florida Keys. Two tarpon frst sampled in Charlotte Harbor during August were later sampled near Key West and Islamorada the following spring. During spawning season, which runs from April to July, another tarpon traveled from Sarasota waters in June to waters near Islamorada 25 days later, where Anglers can order DNA kits free of charge.
Above: Spiny lobster. Right: Redspotted hawkfsh and orange cup coral.
Tarpon in the shadow of a dock in Key Largo.
Hogfsh on the reefs of Fort Lauderdale. Opposite top: Spiny lobsters pack in under a coral head during the start of mating season of of Miami Beach. Bottom: A lone sailfsh cruises southward from Fort Lauderdale during the winter migration.
Snook, near Port Everglades. Opposite: “Bull’s Eye”—close-up of a mahi-mahi.
Redfsh chases down a Yo-Zuri shrimp lure in Florida Bay. Opposite top: View from the lobster boat, Rock Steady, of Rum Cay in the outer Bahamas. Bottom: A Hobie kayak and a bull shark meet of of the beach of Cat Island, Mississippi.
VOLUME 2, ISSUE 6 SPRING 2013
Photo: Bill Boyce.
SLOT LIMITS • BIG WAHOO IN FIJI • VIDEO GEAR • HOW REGULATIONS HAPPEN
BY GUEST EDITOR NICK HONACHEFSKY
Support for Slots A conservation-minded look at how slot limits may be the most viable way to manage a species. Everybody loves catching the big one, but fsh shouldn’t need to rely on luck to
active members of a species, whereas the younger and older counterparts are
reach trophy size—they can always use a little help from fsheries management.
protected to grow and spawn out.
In the old days, when stocks weren’t as pressured both commercially and recreationally, size limits were small and bag limits were big, but that arcane
With obvious discourse, diferent species demand varied slot sizes, but basic criteria when determining a slot limit could include the following:
management now has no place in a world where ever-growing demand makes
Start lower slot parameter sometime after sexual maturity.
efective management an absolute necessity. A sound answer to start managing a
Slot harvest range would include active, early middle-aged fsh.
recreational fsheries population, in my opinion, is to initiate slot limits.
End the higher slot parameter before a “trophy” level, when the largest
Slot limits on saltwater species promote many benefts toward the overall
of species carry the most eggs.
sustainability of a species, most importantly because they allow for the growth
of juvenile members and protect the wizened breeders. This “selective culling”
In my opinion, New Jersey set up a near perfect slot scenario a few years back
Introduce a trophy tag to use once a year to keep a world-class fsh.
instituted by a slot limit, in theory, propagates the health and viability of the species. As juveniles are allowed to grow and reach sexual maturity, they then enter the strongest period of their life in early middle age, when they should be harvested. Any middle-aged fsh that survives past the upper parameters of a slot will be able to breed and procreate freely until their natural deaths. The slot allows anglers to take or release strong,
when regulating striped bass.
Slot limits on saltwater species promote many beneﬁts toward the overall sustainability of a species, most importantly because they allow for the growth of juvenile members and protect the wizened breeders.
Anglers were allowed to keep one fsh between 24 and 28 inches (age 5 to 8 years old) and one fsh over 28 inches. Those regs were smart as they allowed harvest of a healthy, early middle-aged fsh, as well as another middle-aged or older fsh— plenty of fllets to take home for a day out fshing.
Opposite: Nick Honachefsky with a fat triple tail.
The regs then changed to two fsh over 28 inches
should release trophy-caliber fsh anyway, taking
long, which I wasn’t pleased with, as many people
measurements and photographs for a fberglass fsh
began keeping the larger breeder cows (30-50
mount for commemorating the event. Other factors
lbs./42-50 inches), while throwing back the smaller,
to consider that support a middle-aged slot rather
albeit quality-sized, fsh (12-18 lbs./28-35 inches),
than keeping large breeding fsh revolve around
thus putting more pressure on the big breeders. If we
studies showing that more toxins accumulate in
prompt anglers to take only the largest of fsh with
older, larger fsh, making the smaller, middle-aged
no end cap, uneducated and even educated anglers
fsh more desirable to consume.
will tend to get “big eyes” syndrome and keep the largest fsh they catch that day. In an ideal scenario, regulations would also
Whatever the case, there is no panacea for fsheries management, and many variables must be taken into consideration when delineating
allow a once-a-year trophy tag to address the
regulations, including spawning seasons, bag limits,
desire to take home a world-class caliber fsh. For
growth rates, mortality rates, etc., that must be
example, a Floridian bags a redfsh that’s a potential
factored into the equation. However, I think initiating
record at 50 inches, well outside the 18- to 27-inch
slot limits, in respect to other species-specifc
Florida slot, but so long as he possesses a “once a
variables, is a good place to start for any fsheries
year” tag, he would be allowed to keep and mount
management, as it smartly addresses the biological
the fsh. Obviously, anglers practicing conservation
and life-cycle science behind creating regulations.
Eric Schwaab Eric Schwaab, has more than 25 years of experience in local, state and federal natural resource management. He is assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, is currently acting assistant secretary for Conservation and Management for NOAA. Schwaab was a participant in the recent Gulf Fisheries Symposium sponsored by GHM. In his role at NOAA, he oversees the management and conservation of marine fsheries and the protection of marine mammals, sea turtles and coastal fsheries habitat within the United States’ exclusive economic zone. We’ve asked him for some insight on the science and process of creating fshing regulations.
Eric Schwaab, left, during an interview with Dr. Guy Harvey at the 2012 Gulf Fisheries Symposium. Photo: Jim Tizzano.
CA: Can you help us understand how NOAA Fisheries does their ﬁsh stock assessments? ES: Many factors play into estimating the health of a fsh stock. To develop fsh stock assessments, scientists gather biological information such as how long a species lives, the age or size at which they reproduce and how many ofspring a species typically produces. We also gather information from commercial and recreational fsheries, and when available, we use independent scientifc fsh abundance surveys. These surveys are very helpful for tracking the stability of stocks, or whether they are trending up or going down. NOAA has dedicated millions of additional dollars to improve and accelerate fsh stock assessments by hiring more experts, developing cuttingedge statistical models, and collecting better data through the use of new technologies, such as sonar and high-resolution video.
BY CA STAFF
An insider perspective on ﬁshing regulations.
In the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean assessments, NOAA uses a cooperative
estimates by removing sources of potential bias— factors that could infuence the estimates.
(SEDAR). The Regional Fishery Management Councils,
NOAA Fisheries will begin using improved catch
in coordination with NOAA Fisheries and the Atlantic
surveys and conduct them in ways that will provide
and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions, all
better data. For example, in the past, we didn’t
work together to manage this process.
conduct surveys at night, so valuable data may have
CA: Some of the management techniques NOAA uses may be working, but they are tough to take. Any predictions for the future?
process called Southeast Data Assessment and Review
I am happy to report that in the spring of 2013,
been missed. We will collect data at night, and we
ES: NOAA scientists are seeing more fsh and better
very public. And, in the fnal phase of this process, a
plan to continue to work toward monthly turn-
fshing conditions in many areas around the country.
panel of independent experts reviews the data and
around of the data.
Many recreational fsheries are seeing increased
One thing I like about this process is that it is
assessment outcomes, and makes recommendations. We use similar processes in other regions.
CA: As anglers, we hear about the importance of recreational data. There is a lot of skepticism about its accuracy. Can you explain what NOAA Fisheries is doing to address this?
quota and better fshing opportunities. But we
CA: The Councils and NOAA have told us that we will have better ﬁshing once stocks rebuild, but it seems the opposite is occurring in the Gulf with red snapper.
still see other recreational fsheries struggling with changing conditions. And even with improving stocks, constraints are needed to ensure we do not short circuit progress. The Councils, with recreational, commercial, state and federal government and other representatives, are working hard along with NOAA to implement the
ES: The red snapper population is doing great, and
laws in a way that work for fshermen and fsh. I am
we expect this year’s assessment to show more good
optimistic that information provided by the public
news. The recreational allocation has increased from
during the ongoing review of the National Standard
ES: We treat concerns about recreational data very
2.45 to 4.26 million pounds over the past four years.
One guidelines, which includes annual catch limit
seriously. Most of the time, anglers question the
But as anglers are seeing more fsh, bigger fsh and
provisions, will help identify a path to get us to where
accuracy of catch and efort estimates, and express
fsh in more places, they are catching fsh faster than
we all want to be. We are excited by the progress we
concerns about how fast the collected data is put to
the quota is increasing. The retained fsh are heavier,
have made together, but know that we have much
use. There’s no doubt that calculating total catch from
bag limits are being caught more quickly and more
work together to provide fshing opportunities not
millions of recreational anglers is more challenging
anglers are catching them. This results in shorter
only today, but for our children and grandchildren.
than directly tracking commercial catch landed at
seasons to ensure that we continue to progress
toward a fully rebuilt stock, with older fsh and
A few years ago, NOAA asked for and received a thorough review of our recreational data collection
improved distribution across its historic range. The Gulf Council’s Reef Fish Committee met
system by the National Research Council. Results
in a special session in January to discuss potential
showed that we needed to make improvements in
solutions to the shorter fshing seasons, including
many aspects of our recreational estimation process.
allocating more fsh to anglers and shifting to
NOAA Fisheries quickly responded with an initiative
regional management of fsh. We are also awaiting a
we call the “Marine Recreational Information Program.”
new stock assessment later this year.
Our scientists and managers worked with outside
NOAA scientists and managers share anglers’
experts, state partners and many in the recreational
frustration regarding red snapper, and we are looking
fshing community to improve the accuracy of catch
at this issue carefully.
Eric was a panelist and moderator at the Gulf Fisheries Symposium in September. Photo: Jim Tizzano.
Bill Boyce is a veteran fsheries biologist turned TV producer and host. His work includes the award-winning series Angler’s Digest.
For adventurous types,
the South Paciﬁc conjures up seductive images of deep, blue water and palm-speckled islands. Most of the fun in this part of the world is focused on surﬁng killer breaks and diving over fat, healthy coral. Both are a product of spectacular reefs tucked away in a corner of the globe that relatively few people frequent. This remote paradise is high on the wish list of most divers and surfers, but few anglers realize sportﬁshing is equally spectacular in the region and yet severely underutilized. Why is there so little ﬁshing? First, very few boats found in the South Paciﬁc are rigged adequately to pursue large, big-game species offshore. Second, tackle is expensive and must be imported from thousands of miles away, as very few outﬁtters are present in the island chains. Third, when you consider how few people have ever ﬁshed the South Paciﬁc, most of the offshore habitat is virgin wilderness and very little is known about it.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY BILL BOYCE
Travel Facts The Fiji Islands lie some 700 miles north of New Zealand and include over 300 islands dispersed in two main groups known as Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Only 100 or so islands are inhabited and the others are nature reserves. • The population of Fiji is 775,000. • Weather is typically mild year-round, ranging from 65-90°F. Above: Fiji’s Great Astrolabe Reef is one of the healthiest and most resilient on the planet. Slightly cooler water temps
• When traveling from the United States, you will cross the International Date Line, losing a day on your arrival and getting it back on your return. • Daily fights service Fiji from Australia, New Zealand and the United States on Air
allow it to bounce back quickly from
Pacifc Airlines. The main international airport is in Nadi on Viti Levu’s western coast.
coral bleaching episodes and help it to
From there, commuter fights reach every corner of the Fijian Island group.
sustain a healthy fsh population. Maps: © 2013 Google Maps. Cnes/Spot
• The local currency is the Fijian dollar and the current exchange is about 2:1 to the U.S. dollar. All the stores readily exchange U.S. dollars to Fiji dollars.
Image. Data: SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy,
• English is the most common shared language of Fiji.
NGA, GEBCO, LDEO-Columbia, NSF.
• The Fiji tourism board in the U.S. can be reached at fjime.com, 310-568-1616.
• Air Pacifc Airlines fights can be booked at airpacifc.com, 800-227-4446.
All of this holds true for Fiji, one of the Pacifc’s
sea temperatures plays a major role in massive
Astrolabe reef of South Kadavu Island also has the
most picturesque island chains. That is, with one
bleaching episodes. Scientists have determined the
fortune of having water temperatures that average
exception. A frst-class, ofshore fshing operation
bleaching process evolves when sea temperatures
0.5-1.0°C less than the other Fiji islands, and thus,
here ofers a staggering array of inshore and
rise over 29°C for a period of over six weeks or more,
not nearly as susceptible to coral bleaching. In fact,
ofshore fsh to target. I tripped over it by chance,
causing devastating bleaching to several coral
coral experts agree that the expansive coral larvae
which is often the best way to fnd such jewels.
groups, especially the Acropora varieties.
production of the Astrolabe reef of South Kadavu
A few years ago, I was directing and hosting a
A favorable, nine-year study by the Global Coral
Island is a major coral regeneration source for the
saltwater fshing television show called IGFA Angler’s
Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) and scientists
Digest. We received an email invitation to fsh with
on the Fiji Coral Reef Monitoring Network (FCRMN)
an IGFA captain on the remote island of Kadavu,
concluded that Fiji’s reef systems are very quick to
no wonder Fiji is a diving hotspot; but how about
the southernmost island of Fiji. We looked it up
recover from these events. In fact, the massive coral
the fshing? With some continued correspondence
on the map, and began some research. Hmm…
bleaching in the South Pacifc in 2000 and 2002 had
with Captain Adrian Watts of the Matava Resort, we
The Astrolabe reef extends nearly 100 kilometers
recovered to pre-bleaching levels by 2005. This is
quickly surmised this man was very well outftted,
around its south side. This reef is world famous for
great news for the world’s coral reefs if they also
very enthusiastic and very serious about chasing
the quantity and the quality of the coral. In fact,
share Fiji’s unique environmental conditions.
some light tackle world records.
many reputed coral ecologists have spent time
rest of Fiji following acute bleaching periods. With such a hearty and healthy reef system, it’s
It certainly helps that Fiji is geographically
“So Adrian, what types of fsh are we expected
researching the corals found there and use these
remote from industrialized landmasses, with a low
studies as a reference to compare other quality reefs
density of destructive commercial fshing practices.
in the world.
Fiji also has an amazingly large physical reef diversity
course of a year…you will see them all. Dorado,
of coral species, with an extensive connectivity of
barred Spanish mackerel, yellowfn, skipjack, and
these habitats, genetic stocks and good current
dogtooth tuna, sailfsh, black marlin, blue marlin,
fows to disperse larvae during spawning events.
sharks, and packs of huge wahoo, and giant trevally,
Fiji’s reefs difer from many other living coral
Couple all these factors with the expansive network
all just meters from the reefs, and no farther than a
environments in that they have been found to be
of locally managed, marine protected areas, and
few miles ofshore.”
very resilient to coral bleaching occurrences. It is
you can understand why Fiji’s reef resiliency occurs
common knowledge that the warming of global
and why it is such an important place to sustain. The
to encounter on the outside reefs?” “Depends on the time of year, but over the
That type of a glowing report was enough to get my producers into a flming frenzy. We booked it.
Fiji Nadi International Airport
Great Astrolabe Reef Kadavu
Fijian Fish Safari
Getting there was pretty straightforward—a 10-hour “red eye” direct fight from Los Angeles to Nadi on the very accommodating Air Pacifc Airlines, then a six-hour layover and a one-hour, inter-island fight on the same air provider. A ponga skif took us to Matava Resort. Along the way, we passed a reef that immediately told us what a special spot we had just found. Approaching the resort, we passed the BITE ME, a well-outftted, 31-foot, twin diesel, Aussie-built, DeepVee sportfsher resting on anchor in one of the most scenic sportfshing settings I have ever
seen. My thoughts began racing with visions of
The island of Kadavu is dotted with
what we could expect on the reefs the next day.
several native villages, which rarely,
We walked ashore, and the Matava Resort staf
if ever, get any tourist exposure.
anxiously greeted us. The resort is an eco-lodge,
Matava ofers a unique opportunity
built out of local, native woods, with roofs of
to visit one, and the amazing
thatched palm and bamboo siding. It only holds
waterfall there is icing on the cake.
22 people, so you never feel the need to adapt to
The village lifestyle is all about
a mega-resort mentality. The staf of local Fijians
family and friends, and nothing to
are amongst the friendliest I have ever had the
do about materialistic belongings.
pleasure of meeting, and from the frst “bula”
Kids are well fed with a rich protein
(“hello” in Fijian), you feel as welcome as family.
diet from the sea and garden-grown
We were there in the Fijian winter month
vegetables. Schools are an important
A Fijian kava celebration mixes locals, tourists and a peppery local plant.
of July. They call it winter, but it seemed like a
component of village life and the
stunning summer in California. There was some
kids revel in community activity, such as song and dance. Kava celebrations (kava is a local Fiji-grown pepper
wind and rain, and Mother Nature was acting the
root used to create a spiritual drink) can occur at almost any time in the villages and occasionally a kava party is
part. But the water was a balmy 78°F, or 25.5°C.
thrown for the guests at Matava. A good kava party story is essential for anyone returning home from Fiji.
Adrian informed us that yellowfn, sailfsh and large wahoo would be the target species. He didn’t let us down. From the frst hour of the
my cameraman/producer, Richard Chudy, would
must ask how many more we may have seen if we
reef, we were covered up in huge wahoo, passing
even get into the action.
put out a trolling spread similar to that fshed in
through large concentrations of them “packed”
After catching and releasing several large
Central America for sailfsh.
up and attacking our lures in multiple forces.
wahoo, we passed a point along the outer reef wall
Marlin is a Fijian summer fsh, meaning that
Movement would be seen in the lure spread, and
where Captain Adrian informed us of a few bait
they show in these waters from December through
seconds later, huge explosions would go of on
balls on the meter. “Watch for sailfsh in the pattern.”
February. Both black and blue marlin are caught here
the baits, with skying wahoo of 50-60 lbs. leaping
Within minutes, a double hook-up on sailfsh was
and many are considered sizeable for their species.
15 feet out of the water and crashing down on
the result. It should be noted that these Fiji sailfsh
An average fsh is 400 lbs., yet many are caught, or at
our baits as they attack from above. Multiple
are large individuals, many commonly found above
least hooked, that would scale over 700 lbs. of body
hook-ups were the norm. I would be “bendo;”
120 lbs. By the end of the day, fve sailfsh had been
mass. Many are hooked just a mile or two outside the
then the mate, Joe Tuko, would grab a rod; then
raised and we weren’t even fshing for them. One
reef where lots of small tunas are seen foraging on
Matava Matava is most typifed as an eco-resort. Built within the tropical forest of Kadavu Island’s south shore, the views and the sounds of the Astrolabe reef in the background make for a breathtaking setting. The entire resort is constructed from locally grown pines and hardwoods, which make up the frames for the main structures. The siding and roofs are done in traditional manner and constructed with thatched palm fronds and weaved palm. Each bure (room) is designed and orientated to beneft from shade and sea breezes for cooling. The water supply is a natural spring fltered through limestone, and is of excellent quality. The entire staf is made up of local villagers whom are amongst the most friendly you will ever meet. The vegetables are organically grown in the resort garden and the fsh served for meals are, of course, super fresh, typically flleted within hours of your plate appearance.
Yellowfn tuna are best targeted June through August in Fiji. Photo: Bill Boyce.
more ofshore, yellowfn approaching 100 lbs. can be hooked. The lean and mean dogtooth tuna is a year-round resident and often can be seen on dives as they cruise the narrow passages from open water to inner reef. For the last few years, my gamefshing eforts have been focused on the speedy, toothy wahoo. Few places in the world can boast the aggregation behavior of wahoo “packs” like Matava can. The IGFA world record book can be rewritten in these waters with a patient angler, some excellent tackle and some time on his hands. Two years ago, I targeted the men’s IGFA world record on 8-lb. test. I hooked that fsh, but after one hour and ffteen minutes, pulled the hook. For the last two years, Tim Simpson of Australia’s BlueWater magazine and I vowed to meet up in Fiji to pursue that very same record this year. We joined forces with Captain Adrian Watts, and his trusty mate, Joe Tuko, to give the record a run for its money this
small baitfsh; others are encountered by spending
slow trolling them on the bank can bring interest
June. As you all know, having great boats, skippers,
a day on the ofshore bank located 30 miles from
from some gargantuan predators. Marlins aren’t the
mates and competent “handle-turners” can mean
Matava on Kadavu’s southwestern tip. This is a active
only ones, however. Large pelagic sharks, wahoo
nothing if the weather doesn’t want to cooperate,
fsh area anytime you decide to make the run. Once
and world-record-sized dogtooth tuna will pulverize
hence our 2008 trip. That dilemma made us all agree
there, current movement is essential at the bank to
these live baits, too.
to “butch up” for another attempt this year. This year,
get things “fshy.” Adrian likes pulling lures for his
Speaking of tunas, yellowfn make an annual
Mother Nature gave us two days of peace. The quest
marlin, as this allows him to cover lots of territory in
pilgrimage through Kadavu waters. Most commonly
was the same as a year ago—a men’s IGFA world-
the pursuit of big fsh. But if conditions appear good
seen in June, July and August, they are usually just
record wahoo on 4 kg. The fsh are there, it is just
on the bank, then catching tunas, bridling them and
the football-sized variety. But when encountered
fnding the one that will make a mistake far bigger
than merely inhaling a plug. The frst fsh of our entire trip was a good sign.
to the east when it happened…streaking masses of
reality—a 31.4-kg. wahoo on 4 kg.—a new men’s
tail movements and huge explosions on our lures!
IGFA record! There would be no need to wake from
I took the Fijian sailfsh record on 4 kg. And we
All three rods lit up simultaneously, and the Boone
were all smiles. “This is too good to be true,” we
“mirror” diving teaser was being chewed by a huge
simultaneously proclaimed, as smiles, photos and
“hoo.” We each grabbed the closest rod and handled
some frosty beverages were exchanged. Next fsh
them with kid gloves. Tim’s fsh was streaking for
was Tim’s turn and it proved to be a nice Fijian sail on
the eastern horizon, mine the western horizon, and
the same light string. Hmm…Two for two on sails on
Richard’s was heading of the bow. Joe Tuko was
great fshing and diving. The beautiful thing about
light tackle and we are feeling invincible. The tackle
trying to pull the Boone unit out of that hoo’s mouth
scuba diving is if the weather is too sloppy to be out
was working perfectly.
and it came back toward the boat. As Joe yanked the
fshing, diving can provide a great day of adventure.
It was the second day of fshing that the team
It’s rare I get to visit an area in the world that has both
half-eaten teaser from the water, the 25-kg. fsh came
Here at Matava, the underwater world is as good as
would truly hit pay dirt. The weather calmed just
skying after it. The fsh jumped a meter out of the
it gets. As mentioned earlier, it’s world renown for
as weatherbuoy.com had promised, and Adrian
water at lightning speed. It few past the stern and
the exceptional coral condition—the Astrolabe Reef
wasted no time in taking us to the spot we have
missed joining us in the pit by an arm’s length.
is among the fnest coral communities on earth. The
wanted to hit for more than two years—that
An hour later, my Shimano TLD 5 blew up from
variety and quality of the reef environment should
previously mentioned “fshy” ofshore bank 30 miles
spool compaction with my fsh just 15 meters below.
make any traveling angler a candidate for a day or
from Matava. Life on the bank that day wasn’t very
I hand-lined the 4-kg. line and JT gafed it. Tim’s fsh
two of diving here. Not certifed? No worries, Matava
thrilling, as we found slack tide upon our arrival. A
was moments later. Finally, on the gaf and coming
ofers scuba lessons and PADI certifcations. Not into
few small, roving schools of yellowfn chasing bait,
over the rail, it seemed in slow motion, but when
the scuba thing? No worries, Matava has some insane
but so far, no packs of giant wahoo. After an hour
its head cleared the gunwale, we knew it was the
snorkeling just a few hundred meters from the dock.
of no action, we were making plans to head back
one. When it fopped on the deck, the dream was
The diversity of the marine life here is simply
Far left: The author with mate Joe Tuko and a Fijian record sailfsh taken on 8 kg. line. Left: Tim Simpson and Tuko with an IGFA record 31.4-kg. wahoo on 4 kg. line.
When is Light Right? In the last issue of Complete Angler, Nick Honachefsky wrote an editorial headlined “Light Tackle Ethics” that discussed the pitfalls of fshing too light a line for the sake of a line-class record. The problem, he explained, is that such tactics typically result in long fghts that end up costing the life of big-game fsh…often the very breeder fsh we need to perpetuate incredible. Giant mantas are a star attraction, with their graceful fying motion
highly pressured fsh stocks. Bottom line: such ego-driven fshing isn’t smart
and alien-like shape. But there are also butterfy fsh, angelfsh, snappers,
groupers, coral trout, barracuda, jacks, barred Spanish mackerel, sea turtles,
This issue, in deciding to run Bill Boyce’s tale about pursuing a 4 kg. line-
soft corals, giant clams, sea anemones, clownfsh, lionfsh and sea snakes. If
class record for wahoo in Fiji, we asked him to provide some perspective on the
you do dive but don’t wish to cart your dive gear halfway around the world,
subject of fshing light tackle. His response, “I don’t really see a confict in Nick’s
no worries…just like the quality of the fshing gear on the BITE ME, the Matava
position and what we were doing in Fiji. We were there targeting a specifc
Resort has excellently maintained scuba gear for rent.
species known to congregate in massive numbers. This allowed us to avoid the
Some of the best dives here are the drift dives, where you are dropped
bycatch issues that can result in unnecessarily killing valuable fsh. Also, wahoo
of at the corner of the open water passages, then drift the walls of these
are an incredibly abundant sportfsh, a common gamefsh in the Atlantic, Pacifc
passages while watching the world go by. Here, the coral is most vibrant
and Indian Oceans. Even if we would have hooked and lost a big breeder fsh that
due to the current, and the fsh are large and more diverse in variety. Water
ultimately died, it would not have a signifcant impact on the overall population.
temperatures range from their coolest 77°F in the Fiji winters (June–August) and warm to 85°F in the Fiji summers (December–March).
Do It All
“Like all fshing,” Boyce continued, “the important thing about using light tackle is to do it responsibly and target the fsh that can best handle the stress. What light tackle fshing does prove is that anglers who do it successfully are those who truly take the sport of fshing to the extreme. They maintain their tackle in its peak condition, their knots meticulously tied, possess an intimate
Whether fshing or diving, Kadavu is an outpost at the edge of a vast and
knowledge of the fsh they are targeting, as well as the fghting strategy of that
vibrant resource, and one of the few places anglers can go to get a taste of
fsh they are targeting, the way it will eat the lure or bait, and the environment in
big-game fshing at its best in the South Pacifc. Whatever your preference—
which the fght will take place.”
chasing marlin or mantas or hooking up on fat wahoo—you need not confne yourself to just one adventure. There’s plenty of reef and fsh to go around.
What do you think? Shoot us an email at editor@GuyHarveyMagazine.com or visit GHM on Facebook to weigh in on the ethics of fshing light.
BY DARYL CARSON
Hi-tech video tools make showing off a great catch more fun than ever. GEARHEADS :
Although history doesn’t record the frst fsh ever pulled from the
done right, blue water fshing certainly
water, we can be sure it was quickly followed by the frst fsh
qualifes as extreme. Numerous
story and subsequent embellishment of the facts. Bragging, it
other camera systems are available
seems, is one of the frst things fshermen learn. In the modern
and most have waterproof housings
era, the smart phone has given this important fshing skill a
available from the manufacturer or
great boost. It lets you take photos of your just-caught fsh and
from aftermarket frms that specialize in
then relentlessly blasts them out to spouses, friends and distant
cousins you only “like,” but don’t really know. It’s a beautiful thing. More importantly, technology now lets us do our bragging
If you’re new to capturing video while fshing, then start simple. A single camera—
without also killing fsh that we don’t really need to keep. If you’re
even one placed on your fshing kayak—that can
going to eat it, then by all means, take that smelly thing home and
be easily turned on when a fsh strikes will catch
hoist it under the nose of all your loved ones. If not, get some great
the basic action with little fuss. For more heart-
pics…or better, some great video…and then let the beast go to
thumping footage, it’s best to employ both a topside
breed like mad, grow a little more and become bragging rights for
and underwater camera. The latter can be operated as a
someone else another day.
“pole cam” on the end of a long handle, from an ROV or even
It’s in that spirit that we’ve rounded up some of the coolest video
trolled behind the boat with full view of a billfsh spread. On
tools and accessories made just for fshing. The latest technology
larger boats with multiple crewmembers, it’s also a good idea to
allows fshermen to not only capture the moment when the fsh
designate one person to place, maintain and operate the cameras.
comes out of the water, but also the action under the water. In fact,
Just like any fshing practice, trial and error will bring
with cameras that can be trolled at high-speed, we can even brag
refnement in technique. And, although it’s not discussed in this
about the one that got away. And we can do it in HD.
article, it’s also a good idea to plan to edit the footage you do
Several of the accessories mentioned here are for the
get. This is a must if you use multiple cameras, but even more
GoPro camera systems. The small size, rugged build and solid
importantly than that, no one wants to watch long segments
performance of the GoPro has made it the go-to platform for
of nothing between big strikes. It’s really not bragging if your
capturing footage for all manner of extreme sports. And if it’s
audience goes to sleep.
SeaViewer Used by professional video production crews (Think: “Air Jaws” and “Monster Quest”), the SeaViewer Fast-Troll camera is built specifcally for blue water anglers. Its hydrodynamic design delivers excellent stability, even at trolling speeds up to 15 knots. Five strategically placed grommets allow for attaching towing cable, release clips and additional weight. This trolling camera can also be rigged as a drop cam or pole cam and works with standard monitor and recorder devices, or with SeaViewer monitor and recording devices. The basic kit includes a B&W or color probe (both infrared and low-light capable), 50 feet of cable, cable hand spool and cable clips, 3/4- to 1-inch pole attachment and carrying case. Camera measures seven inches in diameter and 12 inches long. MSRP
GreenFish CPR Mount Specifcally designed for use on boats or kayaks, this fshing-friendly camera mount has a unique expansion locking system that works with standard shaped rod holders and secures a camera quickly and conveniently to any size boat. The mount’s foam-covered handle gives a no-slip grip, and an upper fex arm makes it easy to position a camera at any position or angle desired. The mount attaches to any camera or housing with a tripod ftting and is ideal for use with GoPro video cameras or any small digital system. And, as with all its sales, GreenFish will donate 5% of its revenues to non-profts that promote good conservation and sustainable fshing. MSRP
Lifeproof iPad Case An iPad is a great way to review, store and manage video “on the go.” To use it safely on a boat means having some protection. The list of claims by Lifeproof for their new iPad case is staggering: dustproof, shockproof, waterproof and snowproof. More impressive are the technical specs for each of these claims. Without rattling of all the numbers, it means you can literally bury your iPad in the sand at the beach, dig it out and then drop (yes, we said drop) it in the kiddie pool to clean it up. Perhaps most impressive is that this all comes with “Naked Screen Technology,” which simply means there is nothing between your fnger and the touch screen. Ever. The case provides access to all device controls and has a special system to enhance sound from the speakers, so music and videos never sound mufed. MSRP
Aquabotix HydroView An ROV for every boater, the HydroView is a compact unit with a video camera that can be “fown” using the motion control function of an iPad—just move the tablet and it steers the HydroView through the water. The system can also be controlled using a PC or Mac computer and is ideal for hull inspections, checking an anchor or getting a close-up of your favorite fshing reef. The HydroView records live video and captures still images in HD. Includes LED lights, an HD camera, 75-foot cable and waterproof carrying case. Upgrades and accessories, like depth and temperature sensors, are also available. MSRP
Biscayne Rod GoPro Handle Made from fve pieces, Biscayne Rod’s fshing-ready GoPro handle stretches to 74.5 inches when assembled, but packs up easily for storage and transport, making it a great tool for that once-in-a-lifetime billfsh trip. The butt cap is a FUJI rubber gimbal, and the rear grip is eight inches long and fts securely in a rod holder for steady shots while on the move. Also included is a 12-inch forward rope handle for a non-skid grip. A universal head is designed to work with any type of mount. MSRP
TrollPro3 Now in its third generation, the TrollPro housing supports the latest GoPro HD video cameras and all previous models, including accessory backs. This rugged, plastic housing is built to troll behind your boat, capturing your fshing spread and all the action of big strikes. Proven stable at speeds up to 11+ knots, it allows the camera to capture everything in its wide feld of view, and a new Stealth Blue fnish helps it blend into your trolling spread. The housing is normally combined with a 24-oz. trolling weight to keep the camera deeper in the water column. It can also be deployed vertically while fghting a fsh or while jigging. MSRP
149.95 (camera not included)
Melton Tackle GoPro Boat Stick The GoPro Boat Stick is a racehorse version of the traditional pole cam and is excellent for catching the heart-pounding, underwater action of landing a big fsh. Built on a premium, tapered fberglass blank and ftted with an EVA grip, it is extremely lightweight, durable and efortless to handle. The six-foot length is easy to maneuver in a crowded cockpit and the perfect length for catching action just beneath the waves. Compatible with all HD HERO Original and HD HERO2 cameras. MSRP
GUY HARVEY OUTPOST RESORTS
DARWIN’S BACKYARD BY MARK ELLERT
The Guy Harvey Outpost teams scouts a new
Award-winning Iguana Crossing of Santa Cruz is now a Guy Harvey Outpost Expedition hotel member.
eco-resort location in the Galapagos. I am standing in a feld high atop Isla San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands. It is a view that seems to stretch from here to the beginning of time. There is a stark line out on the horizon that separates a cloudless blue sky from the dark purple Pacifc Ocean, and there’s no sign of human interaction or intervention. Frigate birds foat in circles overhead and a giant tortoise crawls through the high grass nearby. This place feels so remote and untouched it is both unsettling and exhilarating. I am west of the “continent,” as it’s known way out here, approximately 1,000 kilometers from Ecuador. Looking over the water, it’s easy to imagine a similar
famous publication, On the Origin of Species, our visit is about fnding a way to make that same inspiration available to others. We are here to plan for the new Guy Harvey Outpost Lodge, soon to be built on this highland site.
scene when a young English naturalist and geologist, Charles Darwin, landed
Our adventure began when we departed the continent from Guayaquil,
here aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835. Although Darwin’s visit inspired his most
the only gateway to Galapagos. Ranked the world’s best midsize international
Left: Water taxi deck in the main settlement of Puerto Baquerizo, San Cristobal. Below: The locals—Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Bottom: Site of the future Guy Harvey Outpost Lodge atop Isla San Cristobal. Photos: Guy Harvey Outpost.
tourism company in the Galapagos has a credentialed scientist and conservation authority as its chairman. Dr. Mahmood Shivji of the Guy Harvey Research Institute is along to discuss on-island research initiatives and satellite tagging eforts that can be showcased to the general public and guests in our planned Guy Harvey Discovery Center. The following day we head of to Isabela, the largest of the islands. It has two active volcanoes and only one town. Puerto Villamil boasts a handful of sand streets and 4,000 hardy souls living “of the grid.” We are here to solicit local airport, Airbus 320s sit aligned on the tarmac like track athletes ready for a
hotel owner Felipe, a passionate scuba diver, about becoming a Guy Harvey
90-minute sprint. The fnish line is Baltra Island, where we taxi up to a modern
Outpost Expedition hotel member.
airport terminal. Most visitors disperse immediately to a fotilla of small cruise
His Iguana Crossing hotel is a classic example that Darwin’s theory of the
ships anchored in the adjacent bay. We take a taxi, then boat and a taxi again,
survival of the fttest applies to the resort world. Open less than two years,
arriving an hour later in Puerto Arroyo, the main settlement of Santa Cruz. It’s a
the contemporary hotel is already ranked most popular in the Galapagos by
busy little town. A handful of small hotels and restaurants overlook the harbor.
TripAdvisor, and winner of its 2013 Traveler’s Choice Award. Stylish design and
The main pier buzzes with the goings and comings of colorful water taxis, and
functionality combine to make the Iguana Crossing a supremely comfortable
I’m reminded of the waterfront of St. Mark’s Plaza in Venice with the orchestrated
boutique hotel perfectly situated by a surf break. “I’m never leaving,” I tell my
chaos of gondola and motoscof trafc.
companions. This is paradise found.
The Galapagos archipelago is a national park, administered by the Ecuadorian government from its headquarters on Isla Santa Cruz. The Charles Darwin research station sits at the edge of town. You simply don’t go to Galapagos without visiting this iconic place. Whether by ship or by land, all visitors pass through its doors and learn of Darwin’s work and, of course, the giant Galapagos tortoise. Sadly, Lonesome George, the last tortoise of his particular species has recently passed, thwarting years of eforts by the research station staf to fnd him a suitable mate. We visit with the park director and his staf. They oversee some 97% of the land area comprising the Galapagos. We learn of the many environmental pressures on the Galapagos Islands and also the vast range of scientifc research underway in the archipelago. The entire place is a study in sustainability, and that is one reason it’s a perfect location for a Guy Harvey Outpost resort. We tell our hosts that no other
The beach of Puerto Villamil, Isla Isabela and at the front door of the Iguana Crossing Hotel. Relaxing in the hotel lounge with its panoramic windows onto the beach, our
As we literally fy into day four of our expedition, Isla San Cristobal comes into
host orients us to the colorful history of the island and his hotel project of 14
view. The majestic “Kicker Rock” protrudes from the ocean as if a knife dropped
rooms and suites. I watch guests shufe by with surfboards and GoPro cameras,
by Neptune himself. We drop down into the harbor of Wreck Bay, with the airport
beach towels and Kindle e-readers. On this beautiful afternoon, the pool deck is
at town’s edge. Here, the taxis are small, white pickup trucks, as they are on all
busy and the game room is understandably dark.
the islands. Five minutes and we’re on the malecon, the harbor-front promenade,
Felipe takes us on a tour. The guestrooms ofer the best in convenience and comfort. Their size and handsome interiors are overwhelmed by the picture frame views of the beach beyond. We make our way to the roof terrace. A jacuzzi
where shop owners are getting ready for the day. Dive shops compete with surf shops and the occasional internet café. We ramble on for the eight or so blocks, past the park benches with their
hums quietly so as not to disturb those who have taken refuge here on the
remarkable guests. Sea lions…hundreds of sea lions are everywhere. They are
sundeck, with its small cocktail bar. We can see the Wolf volcano in the distance,
sleeping on the benches, waddling down the boardwalk, resting in the shade
just where the beach begins to disappear into the mist. Of toward town, a small
under the stairs. Yes, they were here frst. As with all wildlife in the Galapagos,
cruise ship is anchored of the reef. It is likely a dive live-aboard, as Isabela is one
the lack of human predation allows a truly unique interaction with the animals.
of the top dive and snorkeling destinations in the Galapagos.
Of course, look-but-don’t-touch is the rule here.
Daylight wanes and the lounge becomes a beehive of activity. The dining
We turn away from the harbor and make our way to the “interpretive center.”
room flls with guests. The chef has become something of a celebrity by bringing
There, we learn of geology and ecology, of the eccentric and hardy settlers
international cuisine to this sleepy little beach town. I’m told the party moves
who made this collection of oceanic hardscrabble a place called home. Next
back into town as the moon rises. Tonight, though, we decide to sleep, for
door, we visit with students and faculty at the University of San Francisco, a
tomorrow our expedition must move along. The next day, Felipe drives us to
private Quito-based institution that operates a science research center with
our waiting plane and, yes, he’s onboard. The Guy Harvey Outpost fag has been
the help of the University of North Carolina. Here, tagging of sea turtles is a
planted on Isabela.
major ongoing project.
Hi--I’m Mark Nichols, fishing finatic first, and owner of DOA Lures second. I design lures because of my love of fishing...certainly not to get rich. My inspirations for designs come from time on the water, not time in the office. I could be (monetarily) wealthier by hanging out at DOA World Headquarters, copying other manufacturers’ products and sending my designs outside the U.S. to be produced; however, that would just not be me--
I define wealth by how happy I am. I consider myself very wealthy. Also, I hire Americans to supply my materials and to produce my lures and apparel. I choose to do this for my peace of mind and for my family...those at home and those at work. Fishing is therapy. Go get some today.
www.doalures.com Toll-Free 1-877-362-5873 Fishing boat along the harbor-front of San Cristobal. We then head into the highlands, 500 meters above the town. The one and only main road that stretches ahead into the clouds is our route to a
Value,Versatility and a Lifetime Warranty
new destination. We pass a freshwater lake that flls an ancient volcano and
continue our climb. At the crest, the lush, green vegetation falls away and the Pacifc comes into view. This is our site. This is where we will build the Guy
Harvey Outpost Lodge.
Weight – 12.8 oz. Gear Ratio – 6:1 38” per Crank Max Drag – 30# Case Size – 2.50”x2.75” Capacity – Mono 20# 350yd, 30# 275yd, Braid 50# 500yd
We spend the next three days walking the high ridge, drawing plans for where and how to create a new eco-lodge. We settle on the location of the Guy Harvey Discovery Center. We decide to orient the lobby over a ravine for a dramatic arrival experience. We plan to tuck the guest villas into
the hillside for privacy and unobstructed views. We sketch out the social lounge and restaurant with an outdoor deck and infnity pool, framed by the ocean beyond. A spa and yoga center will sit at the end of a trail, settled among the hillside trees and Miconia fowers. After a week of touring and working, with new partnerships created and a plan in place, this expedition comes to a close. The sun begins to slip below the ocean in front of us. Tomorrow we will head back to the
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Weight – 20 oz. Gear Ratio – 6:1 42” per Crank Max Drag – 40#+ Case Size – 3.25”x 3.25” Capacity – Mono 30# 450yd, Braid 60# 600yd
continent and go to work. The Guy Harvey Outpost Lodge of San Cristobal will begin its own evolution…one that should allow the island to keep inspiring everyone that lands on its shores. Visit GuyHarveyOutpost.com.
Tel: +1.804.453.3095 www.RELEASEREELS.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GUY HARVEY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
MAKO CHRONICLES BY DR. MAHMOOD SHIVJI & DARYL CARSON
Tracking one of the fastest sharks in the world. For any angler who has tangled with a shortfn mako, they know the power of
Commercially, makos are most often taken as bycatch in longline and drift gillnet
these incredible sharks. The largest animals reach a length of more than 12 feet,
operations, where they are kept for their high quality meat and fns. The number
and makos are known for impressive acrobatics during a fght, often putting
of makos killed per year around the world is unknown, but fshing pressure on
on a series of leaps that can take them 10 to 20 feet out of the water. Makos are
their populations is believed to be huge. Research by the Guy Harvey Research
also considered among the fastest, if not the fastest, of sharks. Although there is
Institute (GHRI), in collaboration with Dr. Shelley Clarke, has estimated that a
no defnitive answer, various researchers have estimated these torpedo-shaped
median of about half a million mako sharks were utilized in the global shark fn
animals can reach a top speed between 30 and 65 mph when accelerating to
trade as of the year 2000.
capture prey. For the record, that’s faster than Congress can vote itself a pay raise. But makos seem to be designed for high speed swimming—they have
Despite the heavy commercial bycatch of makos and their popularity among sport fshermen, good information on the biology of these sharks to aid in
a highly streamlined shape with a conical snout, large gills for efcient gas
management is surprisingly sparse. However, current research does suggest
exchange and a prominent fattened keel at the posterior end of the trunk
that mako numbers in parts of their range are in decline. This is of concern for
that is believed to strengthen the tail for powerful movements. Unlike most sharks, makos and their kin (e.g., white sharks,
Researchers are amazed at not only the incredible distances Carol has traveled, but also the travel pattern itself.
salmon sharks) have
many reasons, including the fact that makos are clearly toplevel predators in the ocean, likely giving them an important ecosystem role. Stomach content analysis has shown that smaller sharks, swordfsh, billfsh, turtles and bony fshes are all part of the mako diet. Just like other highly migratory species, the efective management of makos is a challenge, because it increases the difculty of assessing population numbers, and because
adaptations that allow them to maintain parts of their body, including muscles, at
applying conservation measures requires the coordinated eforts of multiple
temperatures several degrees above ambient seawater. This is believed to be part
nations or user groups. Details of mako migratory patterns in diferent parts
of the reason why makos can achieve such high swimming speeds. And, not to
of their global range remain largely unknown, adding to the difculties of
carry the political analogy too far, but unlike some politicians, this suggests makos
formulating efective management and conservation plans. The good news is that
are not completely “cold blooded.”
information coming in from new tracking studies is helping to solve this problem.
From a fshing and conservation perspective, makos are no less intriguing.
In New Zealand, a study co-sponsored by the GHRI, New Zealand National
With a global range, and a high quality meat, these sharks are popular in both
Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and New Zealand Ministry for
commercial and sport fshing. They have been referred to as one of the great
Primary Industries placed a satellite “SPOT” tag on a six-foot juvenile female mako
gamefshes of the world due to their feisty nature when hooked on rod and reel.
dubbed “Carol.” Carol has provided almost daily, good quality detections for her
Carol the New Zealand Mako has amazed researchers with the speed and distance of her travels.
whereabouts for more than eight months now (and counting) providing a high-
resolution view of her travels. Researchers are amazed at not only the incredible
combined studies should
distances Carol has traveled, but also the travel pattern itself. She has covered over
provide an interesting,
13,000 km. (over 8,000 miles) in about eight months, showing speeds of up to 60
comparative view of
miles per day. And none of this travel was at taxpayer’s expense.
Tagged of the northern New Zealand coast, Carol swam north for two weeks,
The information should increase our biological knowledge of these amazing
covering half the distance to Fiji, before doubling back and hanging out in Kiwi
sharks and help provide regulators with the information they need for efective
waters for almost two months and before re-launching and completing her trip to
management and conservation eforts. And, with continued success, perhaps
Fiji then returning to eastern coast of New Zealand in just two and a half months.
similar tracking techniques can be applied to a few worthy public servants.
Carol’s remarkable movements can be followed on the interactive GHRI tracking website (www.nova.edu/~johnmaƩ/makosharks.htm).Based on the success of this pilot study with Carol, GHRI and New Zealand collaborators are
expanding this study by tagging more makos here to get a solid idea of their migratory patterns in relation to New Zealand’s territorial waters. Somewhat closer to home, the GHRI team has also been tracking makos to understand their movement behaviors in our part of the world. As part of this study, Dr. Guy Harvey recently deployed two pop-up satellite tags on makos of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The tags stayed on for two-and-a-half and fve months, and showed both sharks migrating into the western and northern Gulf of Mexico, respectively. Additional SPOT and pop-up tags will be deployed of Isla Mujeres this spring with Captain Anthony Mendillo of Keen
Check out Carol’s track at
M International, and of Maryland this summer with Captain Mark Sampson
of Fish Finder Adventures.
and her round trip from New Zealand to Fiji.
MEET THE CHEF
SERIOUS ABOUT SEAFOOD BY GHM STAFF
Michael Howell is a renowned Canadian chef and vocal advocate for sustainable seafood and ethical eating. His cooking career has taken him all across North America, and his latest restaurant, Tempest, is in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, one of the hottest food and wine regions in the country. Now in its tenth year, Tempest is among the most well known restaurants in Canada. Michael is also the leader of Slow Food Nova Scotia, part of Slow Food International, a 100,000-member global organization centered on the belief that we need to consume and support good, clean, fair food, produced ethically and with respect for the earth. Earlier this year, Michael also received the distinguished Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the government of Canada for his contributions to the country in the food movement. Chef Michael has a special passion for seafood, and he credits it largely to his DNA— both his father and grandfather plied the North Atlantic as professional fshermen— and the fact that he spent his childhood on the shores of Nova Scotia. As a young man, though, Michael chose acting as an early career. After graduating from Dalhousie University, he worked in Toronto as an actor and director, but got his frst taste of the restaurant world while waiting tables to supplement his income. After nearly a decade, the newly married Howell moved to Chicago and decided it was time for a change. He entered the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago and after graduation, he began building his culinary career, working in well-regarded restaurants in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York before moving to the Bahamas in 1999. For three years, while serving as executive chef at the Green Turtle Club, his fnely honed skills were unleashed on a fresh and plentiful supply of local seafood, and the GTC was recognized as the “Best Restaurant in the Bahamas” by the Nassau Wine and Food Society. Having recently sold Tempest, Chef Michael is heading back to the Green Turtle Club (greenturtleclub.com), where he will spend several months each year as the consulting executive chef, creating new seafood delicacies. His cookbook, Atlantic Seafood, is available from Nimbus Publishing (nimbus.ca).
Chef Michael Howell | Green Turtle Club | Bahamas
The Fishery in San Diego
Seared Tuna with Saffron, Tomato and Olive Oil Ragout
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce heat
to low, then simmer 5 minutes, or until tomatoes and onions are softened. Reserve warm.
½ tsp (2 ml) safron threads
2 lbs (900 g) centre-cut tuna loin, cut into six portions, about ¾” (2 cm) thick
4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and quartered
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 roasted red peppers, peeled and seeded
1½ cups (300 ml) + 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
2 marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 red onion, sliced 4 green or black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Rub the tuna loin pieces with 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of the olive oil and season them with salt and
3 cloves garlic, minced
pepper. Marinate for 1 hour. In a heavy, cast iron pan, over high heat, sear the tuna until
2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
it is browned and almost crispy on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip over and repeat on the
½ cup (100 ml) white wine
other side. Remove from heat. Do not overcook. Cut each tuna portion in half, exposing
½ cup (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil
the rare center and crispy crust. Arrange the pieces in the middle of a plate. Add the basil
6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
to the ragout, reheat briefy, and then drizzle the sauce over the fsh and around the plate.
Salt and pepper, to taste
for 1-2 minutes, or
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard
until they are open,
1 cup (200 ml) ripe mango, fnely diced
Liberal dashes of Caribbean hot sauce, or Tabasco
frst. Be careful not
Salt and pepper, to taste
to overcook them.
2 cups (500 ml) + ½ cup (100 ml) panko or
Remove the lid; add
the cooked pasta,
Linguini with Littlenecks and Garlic
tomato, and parsley
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
and enough of
Add the shallot, peppers, hot pepper, red onion
the reserved pasta
and ginger. Sweat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and
water to make a
cook for 2 more minutes. Remove to a large bowl
loose broth. Stir
and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add the remaining
in the remaining
ingredients to the bowl, reserving ½ cup (100 ml)
olive oil, add salt and pepper as desired, and divide
of breadcrumbs. Fold the crab cake mixture gently,
immediately among 6 plates or bowls. Pour any of
trying not to break up the lumps of crabmeat too
the broth remaining in the skillet over the pasta.
much. After the mixture is thoroughly combined,
16 oz (500 g) fresh linguini or other long pasta
Italians do not typically add parmigiano or Parmesan
refrigerate for one hour. Remove the crab cake
1 tsp (5 ml) + 1 tsp (5 ml) + 2 tsp (10 ml) extra
cheese to seafood dishes, but should you desire,
mixture from the fridge. Spread the remaining
virgin olive oil
please do so.
100 ml of breadcrumbs on a cookie sheet. Form
8 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp (5 ml) chile fakes 2¼ lbs (1 kg) fresh littleneck or mahogany clams (or other small hard shell clams), washed
the crab mixture into balls slightly larger than golf
Spicy Caribbean Crab Cakes
balls, and then fatten them out so that each cake resembles a small hockey puck. Dredge all sides in the breadcrumbs. (You can reserve the crab cakes for cooking later, as they can be refrigerated for up to
1 cup (200 ml) white wine
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive or vegetable oil
24 hours.) There are 2 options for cooking the cakes:
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
You can bake them in a 425°F (220°C) oven for 12-15
1 large fresh, ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and
1 medium red pepper, fnely diced
minutes, fipping them after 8 minutes, or you can
1 medium yellow pepper, fnely diced
pan-fry or deep-fry the cakes in 360°F (180°C) oil until
3 Tbsp (45 ml) chopped Italian parsley
1 large jalapeno or red fnger pepper, chopped
golden brown and crunchy, about 3 minutes.
and seeds removed (or left in depending on heat Fill a large pot with salted water and 1 tsp (5 ml) of
olive oil. Add the linguini and boil until cooked. Al
1 small red onion,
dente (frm, but not hard) consistency is desired, as
peeled and fnely diced
you will cook the pasta some more with the clams.
¾” (2 cm) ginger, peeled
When the pasta is cooked, drain it, but reserve 2
and fnely chopped
cups of the cooking water. Toss the noodles with
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) of olive oil to keep them from sticking
1 lb (500 g) cooked
and reserve them nearby in a large metal bowl.
lump rock crab or snow
In a large skillet able to hold the pasta, warm the
remaining 2 tsp (10 ml) of olive oil and add the garlic,
4 Tbsp (60 ml) chopped
chile fakes, and clams, and cook over medium heat,
stirring regularly for 3-4 minutes, or until the clams
1 cup (250 ml)
just start to open. Add the wine and lemon juice and
cover the skillet with a lid or foil. Steam the clams
2 eggs, lightly beaten
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IT’S OUR LEGACY
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HOOKED ON SMILES Of the world’s greatest lost treasures—the golden Aztec
much to ourselves, stretches the entire length of the resort
kingdom, the city of Atlantis and common sense in
and has all the toys—volleyball, horseshoes, snorkeling
government—there’s one that may be even harder to
gear, and even freshwater showers to rinse of those pesky
fnd…a teenager’s smile. It’s a treasure, for sure, that even a
grains of sand and salt from our scorched skin.
parent’s devoted love may not be able to unlock. But I had a key, or to be exact, a caye, called Grand Bahama. I kind of fgured a few days on a tropical island might
For the past 25 years, Fred D.
was gin clear, calm and ofered up lots of critters with which
reset the teenager button and push a smile or two out of
to mingle. We saw tons of big starfsh, some barracuda,
my 17-year-old daughter, Teal. She’s a self-motivated teen
quite a few turtles and lots of tropical fsh. On the second
with an outstanding GPA, so my wife and I don’t have a lot
day, a local fsherman pulled up to the shoreline in his
to complain about. But I still miss her wonderful dentistry-
bright yellow, 22-foot boat and started showing of a bunch
enhanced grin. Of course, it’s not as if Teal walks around
of fresh lobster and conch he’d harvested that morning.
scowling all the time. She laughs a lot with her friends.
We quickly melted into the beach life, rotating between suntanning, snorkeling, swimming and eating. The water
But I was shooting for the “parent-induced” smile. With all due respect to Grand Bahama, there
“Just calm down and cast like you did before we saw the ﬁsh,” Tommy said.
Garth’s articles have appeared in
are many dozens of tropical islands that will evoke
numerous books, magazines and
a blissful, blue-water state of happiness. Ours just
newspapers around the world.
happened to be GB because it’s an easy 30-minute
Read his blog at:
hopper fight from Miami, and I managed to arrange a sweet
After a quick negotiation, I bought three lobsters and three
travel-writer lodging discount at the Old Bahama Bay Club.
conchs for about what I’d pay for one lobster back home
I wasn’t really sure if the OBB was a laid-back beach
and delivered the goods to Jesse, the resort’s friendly
hotel or a mega-Atlantis-style amusement park resort until
cook. As I waited at the bar sipping a tasty rum and coke,
I browsed the photo gallery and marveled at their upscale,
Jesse created a seafood feast with rice and beans, fresh
pastel, beachfront townhomes and landscaping that
vegetables, potatoes and the works. I had positioned myself
compares to Hawaii. My prediction was that Mama and
so I could see my family’s hungry faces as they entered the
the kids would be happy. As it turned out, Old Bahama Bay
room. One look at the food festival Jesse had prepared was
was a perfect family getaway. Oh, and it’s a member of the
all it took—their eyes sparkled and wide smiles popped out
Guy Harvey Outpost family, so it has Guy’s personal stamp
all around, even on Jesse! Success was mine.
of approval. OBB is literally at the western tip of Grand Bahama, far
The “hook it and cook it” option is something the restaurant does regularly. It’s perfect for guests and the boat
away from the hustle and bustle of the island’s town center
people who visit OBB’s deep-water marina. Because of its
of Freeport and Lucaya. The beach, which we had pretty
proximity only 68 miles from the Florida mainland and its
a convenient customs checkpoint for boats entering
The Port Lucayan Marketplace
the Bahamas. There were a couple of mega yachts
In my several decades of travel writing, I’ve visited
slumming it, along with a dozen or so 30- to 60- foot
at least 100 or so tropical islands—from Grand
sportfshers who were hanging out for a few days
Cayman to St. Vincent to a little place called Yap
fshing, enjoying the beach and enlisting Jesse to
in Micronesia—and they each have their quirks.
keep their bellies happy.
Grand Bahama is no diferent. Sure, it’s a hot tourism
incredibly well protected and fortifed marina, OBB is a haven for yachters and sportfshing boats. It’s also
After a couple of days eating, snorkeling, beach
spot and cruise ship destination, but GB also has a
slugging and fight-testing the hammock, I could
serious business résumé. It’s a tax-free haven (you
sense a shopping vibe emerging and another
can’t miss the signs); the Freeport Container Port
opportunity for happy faces. Living with three
is a worldwide shipping hub; the Grand Bahama
females has given me a bit of intuition, too. Grand
Shipyard builds, converts and repairs massive ships,
Bahama is long (or grand, I suppose) and a good 80
including cruise ships for the likes of Holland America
miles from tip to tip, so we devoted an entire day to
and Carnival; and there are some monster residential
Clockwise from top left: Old Bahama Bay’s townhome-
shopping and exploring the island. I rallied the girls
developments. But we hit the town for wild
style accommodations. Adia Garth, 12, holding her
to a bright and early start around 11am and packed
shopping, and the Port Lucayan Marketplace ft the
dinner. Teal Garth performs a teenage balancing act at
the snorkeling gear just in case. We piled into the
bill. The place takes up a few city blocks and borders
Lucayan National Park.
tiny rental car, which was more like a toaster with
the Lucayan Harbor. While I found other activities
wheels, and pointed to the big city. Teal kept asking
to occupy my time, the girls charged ahead into a
if she could drive, to which I replied, “Maybe…in
mass of local street vendors, jewelry stores, leather
the parking lot.” They drive on the left side of the
shops, clothing stores and plenty of restaurants. I
road in the Bahamas and most intersections have
was enjoying my second ice-cold Kalik when the
“roundabouts” rather than stoplights, so it’s confusing,
girls emerged grinning, squeaking like dolphins and
even for an old, dyslexic, left-hander like me. So my
riding the smile train. The 22 muscles it takes to grin
parenting sensors pretty much shut her down.
were working overtime.
Two hours pressing against the heated crowd
I have this thing about circumnavigating islands,
want to dance. And they have these things called
had them longing for another breezy beach, and I
so I had my sights set on McLean’s Town at the far
panny cakes that I could eat all night.”
had my eye on the Lucayan National Park toward the
eastern end. I was also trying to connect with a
east end of the island. There’s not only a gorgeous
fshing guide. But my chances of convincing a tired
and learned the trade from his dad, who passed last
and ridiculously remote beach, but the park has some
family were looking grim. So I lured them to a little
year at the age of 91. During his life, Bonefsh Folley
caverns leading into some of the most extensive
beach bar called Bishops at High Bluf, which is
fshed with many celebrities and two absolutely
underwater cave systems in the world. The cave tour
only 10 miles from McLean’s Town. The plan was to
legendary human beings: Ernest Hemingway and
takes all of about 20 minutes, if you linger. There are
enjoy the afternoon sun and convince them to go
Martin Luther King. (He also took Richard Nixon
steps leading into the caverns and platforms to check
the distance. I’m used to getting outvoted three-
fshing.) There’s even a song about Bonefsh Folley
out the crystal-clear water. The underground rivers
to-one so I didn’t kick and scream too much when
that still plays on radio stations in the Bahamas.
are freshwater and stay cool year-round. Crazed cave
they overruled my brilliant plan. I agreed…on one
Tommy is a bit of a legend himself and I was not
divers have explored deep under the island and have
condition: that we grab dinner at a local juke joint
about to miss a chance at catching a big one. Details
not yet found the end. The weirdest part is that they
called the Chicken Nest.
on that later.
Tommy’s been guiding for three or four decades
connect to the ocean somewhere so saltwater fsh
I’d found out about the Chicken Nest from
We made it to the Chicken Nest in West End
have found their way into the caves. It’s strange but
Tommy Rolle, who also goes by Tommy Folley, after
around dark thirty. It’s a tiny, cinderblock place just
also beautiful, because in the islands, fresh water is a
his father who is the Bahamas most noted bonefsh
a long cast from the water. The parking lot was jam-
legend, Bonefsh Folley.
packed with all of about 20 cars. Music was blasting
The beach at the park was a virtual smile factory. God built this place in such a way to inspire awe into
“The best conch fritters you’ll ever taste,” he said. “And, they make a pan-fried fsh that will make you
so loud I saw plaster cracking of the outside walls. This was not a tourist restaurant. In fact, I might have
even the most jaded teen. As soon as we broke through the foliage, we were mesmerized
by the deep azure and pale
Unless you have an international plan, you’ll get crushed
blues of the ocean. We didn’t
in cell phone roaming charges. Phone calls are $2/minute,
swim. We didn’t snorkel. We
incoming texts are a nickel and outgoing texts are 50 cents.
just kind of stumbled around
I made everyone turn of their phones, but we were able to
in the shallow water and
use them and the computer on Wi-Fi at the Old Bahama Bay
soaked in the natural beauty
Club. Ever the cheapskate, I bought a pair of $25 water-
resistant walkie-talkies with a 20-mile range. They worked perfectly and came in very handy on numerous occasions.
Paradise Cove After a few days, we’d pretty much snorkeled everything around the Old Bahama Bay, so we headed 10 miles down east to Paradise Cove where, for $3 bucks per snorkeler, we were granted entry into a vibrant ecosystem of hard and soft corals. We ended up going to the Cove twice and both times encountered majestic spotted eagle rays. They also have a hopping little beach bar and grill with good cracked conch,
Opposite, clockwise from top left: Teal contemplates
other fried goodies, cold beer, mixed drinks, ice cream—pretty much anything you need to wash the salt
Grand Bahamas’ extensive underwater freshwater
water out of your mouth. It’s a nice, half-day trip and highly recommended from a guy who has been scuba
cave systems. Smiles became more frequent by the day.
diving and snorkeling all over the planet.
Ordering treats at the Paradise Cove fry shack. This page: The beach at Old Bahama Bay faces northeast and remains calm most of the time and the landscaping may prompt your spouse to buy you some garden shears when you return home.
been their frst. Not being the shy type, I stepped out and walked up to two guys standing on the porch drinking a beer. The girls elected to stay in the car. “Is this the Chicken Nest?” I asked. There wasn’t a sign. “Yeah, man,” they said. “Tommy Rolle told me the food here is excellent.” “True that, braddah, but you better get in there and order quick. The line’s getting longer.” They weren’t kidding. A dozen or so folks were jammed at the counter window yelling above the music, things like “conch frittas” and “fry fsh.” I joined in, screamed out my order and hoped she understood me. Then I waited. And waited. After 30 minutes, my family started to wonder what had happened to me. But those guys were right, it was wall-to-wall locals inside and the little bitty kitchen was pumping out food as fast as it could. When I fnally came out with the goods, Teal said she thought they had kidnapped me or something. “You’ve been watching too much CSI Miami,” I told her. “I just made 50 new friends and they invited us to a party in Eight Mile Rock later tonight.” A wide smile slid across her face. This was getting easier by the day. Back at OBB, we laid into that food like a pack of starving dogs. It was some of the best fsh I’ve ever tasted and we all ate our fll, giggled a lot and collapsed in our beds.
The Atlantic Ocean is the best pool around but fresh water is fun too.
Fishing with the New Legend
saw the fsh,” he said. “Don’t panic, there are lots of
took the hook and bolted like bones do. She stripped
bonefsh out here.”
out 200 feet of line and put up a valiant fght, but I
His advice was excellent but a couple of cold
Tommy Rolle Folley is one of those laid-back guys
brewskis would have helped. That’s when he told
who becomes an instant friend. He keeps his fats
me about the Chicken
boat under his house, which is across the street from
Nest. He was saying,
the boat launch and about fve minutes from prime
bonefsh grounds. I’m a fairly profcient fy fsherman
have these things
and Tommy checked out my motion before he
called panny cakes
decided where to go. Within 10 minutes of leaving
that will…oh, look
the launch, I was staring down a group of three
right there, 10 o’clock.
monster bones easing toward the bow of Tommy’s
It’s a big one.”
17-foot Maverick. “Throw now!” he said. “NOW!” I lifted the rod and
Maybe it was the thought of panny
lost all sense of coordination. My heart was jumping
cakes and conch
around in my chest and my arms were acting like
fritters that calmed
twigs in a hurricane. Tommy’s hand-tied fy ended
my nerves. I pumped
up in my left butt cheek. Needless to say, I missed
the line twice and
the fsh, and the next one, and the next. I’d become a
presented the fy a
pitiful, helpless angler and Tommy just giggled at my
couple a feet in front
of that dude’s nose. It
“Just calm down and cast like you did before we
was all over. The bone
landed the fsh and Tommy gently released the big seven-pounder. Ten minutes later, he spotted another
Tommy Rolle Folley is a bonefsh legend in his own right.
beast. I was in sync and nailed it. This one fought so hard I had to take two Advil later that night. It weighed in over 11 pounds, a personal record, and a fne fsh. As we headed back to the dock, I didn’t know what Teal was doing, but I know I had a smile going like I haven’t had in a long time. Suddenly it hit me. I’d been successful in bringing smiles to Teal’s face, but maybe I was the one who needed it the most. I think they call that serendipity. Success was mine.
For information on a trip to Grand Bahama, contact the Bahamas Tourism Agency at bahamas. com. To book a trip to Old Bahama Bay, visit OldBahamaBay.com or call 888.800.8959. For more information on all the Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, visit GuyHarveyOutpost.com.
The author caught this personal best, 11-pound bonefsh and is still smiling about it.
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