Tagged shark does the miles

When the Adelaide Gamefishing Club’s Paul Williams tagged and released a baby blue shark at Port MacDonnell five years ago, he had no idea it would end up as one of the most travelled gamefish on record. 

Paul is an avid shark fisherman and conscientious tagger of gamefish. Paul had been fishing wide of Port MacDonnell on May 20, 2005. When the baby blue swam up his berley trail, he hooked it, brought it aboard, slipped in a plastic gamefish tag and sent the little guy back on its way – all regulation stuff and certainly nothing to get excited about – except maybe for adding a few more tagging points to Paul’s annual club tally.

This was one of 16 small blue sharks tagged that day, and it was caught on just two kilogram line. It was almost five years later, however, that the interesting part of the story unfolded. In the mail Paul recently received a certificate from NSW Fisheries, who co-ordinate our major national gamefish tagging program. Paul’s junior blue shark had been recaptured by a commercial fishing boat and the tag was still attached. The information provided on the certificate (see below) certainly makes interesting reading.

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Release details

Date – May 20, 2005
Angler – Paul Williams
Vessel – Southern Blue
Species – Blue shark
Location – Port MacDonnell, South Australia
Latitude – 37.54S Longitude – 140.41E
Weight – 9kg
Length – 150cm

Recapture Details
Date – April 26, 2010
Vessel – Wakashio Maru 58
Species – Blue shark
Location – Indian Ocean, off South African coast
Latitude – 34.54S
Longitude – 27.20E
Weight – 47kg
Length – 187cm

Doing a few sums, Paul’s shark had travelled 5,073 nautical miles, had been at liberty for 1,802 days, had grown 37 centimetres and had put on 38 kilograms. These figures are quite staggering when you think about it and really highlight the value of gamefish tagging.

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