TBF’s Juvenile Billfish Project

photo courtesy of Igor Assad

The Billfish Foundation is proud to announce our newest project on juvenile billfish! Very little is known about billfish during their early life stages due to high mortality rates and a lack of reliable tracking methods for fish of their size. A lack of information on juvenile and newborn billfish whereabouts and habits equate to improper management and advocacy for their survival. That’s why we at TBF, along with our research partners, are calling on our members to help us remedy this problem! According to Dr. Freddy Arocha, TBF’s partner researcher, “Known images from juvenile billfish are rare, and more difficult is to find an image with the data related to the image. So this is an innovative program, I have not heard of such approach elsewhere, nor the existence of any repository of the sort.”

So, how does it work? Anglers can send us photos* of juvenile billfish that they have caught, along with the date of capture, an approximate location (including latitude and longitude), and any other information that you might have (time of day, weather conditions, condition and size of fish, etc). Then, TBF and our research partners will compile and analyze these data to learn more about where different species of billfish spawn, where they migrate, diurnal and nocturnal habits, and more! This information will help us ensure that billfish are being properly managed at all life stages, not just when they are large adults. In the words of Dr. Arocha, “Now, basic data on location will give time of year (season), location (potential nursing area), and information on essential habitat of juveniles. If you can get size of fish would be great. Obviously, few sampled fish will not be highly informative, but overtime the archived collection will likely generate a wealth of information on juvenile life history that can be used to reduce uncertainty in future assessment models”.

To submit your juvenile billfish photos and data, send us an email at tag@billfish.org. We are very excited to begin research on this often ignored area of billfish life history, we hope you’re excited to be a part of it too!

To stay up-to-date on all things billfish, become a member, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and follow us on social media, @TheBillfishFoundation.

*It is important to note that a photo must be included for the entry to be usable.