The Billfish Foundation’s Tag & Release Program, established in 1990, is one of the largest billfish databases in the world, with over 240,000 fish released, due to the assistance of captains, anglers, and mates worldwide. Without their help, much of what we know today about billfish, including age, growth, movements, distribution and stock structure would not be determined. Click here to learn more about the Tag & Release Program.

The Annual Tag & Release Competition

You can participate in TBF’s Annual Tag & Release Competition by becoming a member of TBF and promptly turning in your Tag Data Report cards or entering them online at This worldwide competition runs from November 1stthrough October 31st of the following year.

Official Rules

COMPETITION DATES: November 1 – October 31 of the following year.

DEADLINE: All Tagging Data Report and Release Notification Cards must be received by TBF no later than November 15th, whether via mail or online at

ELIGIBILITY: Anglers, captains and mates MUST be a current TBF member to receive an award based on their submitted Tagging Data Report and Release Notification Cards. Regardless of membership, all data from every card is valuable for billfish research. You can check your membership status or join TBF by calling (954) 938-0150 ext. 106. If you have registered with our online tag and release database, you can see if your membership is current in your profile page and join or renew at

IMPORTANT NOTE: Cards should be submitted to TBF as soon as possible or entered online at after tagging or releasing a fish. If you wait until the end of the competition year to send your cards, you run the risk of not having your cards reach TBF by the deadline. TBF also reserves the right to disqualify any participant if circumstances indicate there is reason to question reports.


TAGGING – Captains and Anglers Awards are presented to those who tag the most billfish of each species within each ocean category after having met the 5 fish minimum.

RELEASE – Captains and Anglers Awards are presented to those who release, without tagging, the most billfish of each species within each ocean category after having met the 5 fish minimum.


  • For the categories listed, fish that are tagged and released are NOT counted in the Release Category. These fish are only counted in the Tagging Category.
  • For swordfish only, Tag and Release categories will each be split into Commercial and Recreational categories.
Black MarlinBlue MarlinSailfishSpearfishSwordfishWhite MarlinStriped Marlin

Additional Awards


Awards are presented to youth anglers who tag and/or release the most billfish of any species within each age category after having met the minimum of 3 fish. Categories include: ages 8 & younger, 9-10, 11-12, 13-15 and 16-17. (Please note: To enter the competition all youth anglers MUST write in their date of birth next to their name or in the space provided, or if reporting via please include date of birth when creating user profile.) Youth anglers must be active TBF members to win.


Awards are presented to the female anglers who tags and releases the most billfish.


TBF recognizes the valuable contribution of mates in both the release and tagging of billfish through TBF’s Mate Recognition Program, a cumulative, on-going program that awards mates with a pair of Costa Sunglasses and a plaque for his or her level of achievement. Mate awards are given on a yearly basis for the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Annual Tag & Release Competition Ceremony

Every year in February, concurrently held during the Miami Boat Show, The Billfish Foundation is proud to recognize all the winners for the past year’s Tag and Release Competition.

For 2017, The Billfish Foundation’s Annual Tag and Release Ceremony will be held Friday, February 17, 2017, in the Treetop Ballroom at Jungle Island. The evening kicks off at 6:00 PM with cocktails followed by the award presentation and dinner. Proceeds benefit TBF’s tag and release program. All are welcome to attend and show their support for the 2016 Tag and Release Award Winners.

Special thanks to all of our Tag & Release Program Sponsors – Casa Vieja Lodge, Costa Sunglasses, Garmin Marine, King Sailfish Mounts, Pelagic Gear, IGFTO, Marina Casa De Campo, and Yeti Coolers.

ATTENTION ALL ANGLERS, MATES AND CAPTAINS: Please send TBF any photos you have of your billfish in the water or jumping. Great tagging photos are always appreciated and could be spotlighted in one of TBF’s publications. Send all photos and stories to Remember the success of this program rests in the hands of all of us. TBF appreciates your support.