TBF’s Top Taggers of the Decade

photo credit: Chris Sheeder

The Billfish Foundation’s Tag & Release Program is the cornerstone of our conservation and advocacy. We are proud to maintain the largest private tag and release database in the world, with over 260,000 records. Billfish tagging, and the recaptures that occur as a result, provides valuable scientific data to help us understand more about billfish life history, habitat utilization, migrations, and more. It is also used in stock assessments and to bolster global advocacy efforts for the conservation of these fish. Without tag and release, much of what we know about billfish today would still be a mystery. There are still many questions we have yet to answer about these elusive fish, making tag and release just as important as ever!

In the last decade, TBF has made great strides in conserving and researching billfish. These successes are in large part due to the tagging efforts of anglers, Captains, and mates that have dutifully sent in their tag and recapture data. As a small token of our appreciation, we wanted to highlight the top fifteen taggers between 2010 and 2019, including how many billfish they tagged in those ten years. Every tag matters, and the collective thousands of tags for which these anglers and Captains are responsible make an enormous difference!

Chris Sheeder

Years Active with TBF: 1997 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 3,221

Tag Localities: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Midway Islands

Ben Horning

Years Active with TBF: 2006 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 1,659

Tag Localities: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, USA, Cape Verde

Fin Gaddy

Years Active with TBF: 1994 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 1,414

Tag Localities: Mexico, USA (East Coast)

Ronnie Fields

Years Active with TBF: 2001 – 2018

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 1,304

Tag Localities: Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, USA, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands

Bouncer Smith

Years Active with TBF: 1994 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 1,180

Tag Localities: USA (Florida)

Gray Ingram

Years Active with TBF: 1992 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 1,086

Tag Localities: Bahamas, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Nova Scotia, USA, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands

Eddy Lawler

Years Active with TBF: 2009 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 1,030

Tag Localities: Cape Verde, Australia (Western Australia)

Gene Vander Hoek

Years Active with TBF: 1992 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 872

Tag Localities: Mexico, USA (Hawaii)

Laurent Sahyoun

Years Active with TBF: 2012 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 846

Tag Localities: Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Portugal

Christian Benazeth

Years Active with TBF: 1999 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 841

Tag Localities: Morocco, Portugal

Jimmy Kitchell

Years Active with TBF: 2010 – 2014

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 821

Tag Localities: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, British Virgin Islands

Laura Jessen

Years Active with TBF: 2008 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 743

Tag Localities: Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua, USA, Australia

Tim Richardson

Years Active with TBF: 2000 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 739

Tag Localities: Australia (Queensland), Dominican Republic, Martinique, St. Lucia, US Virgin Islands

Bernabe Ruiz

Years Active with TBF: 1997 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 733

Tag Localities: Mexico

Ichiro Takahashi

Years Active with TBF: 1996 – present

Number of Tags from 2010-2019: 636

Tag Localities: Japan, Malaysia

 

Thank you so much to every Captain, mate, and angler that have tagged in the last decade. Your dedication to conservation enables us to fight for a future full of billfish and recreational fishing. Check out our website to learn more about the Tag & Release Program, as well as the yearly Tag & Release Competition. To purchase tagging equipment, or TBF apparel, be sure to check out our online shop. To stay up-to-date on all things billfish, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, become a member, and follow us on social media, @TheBillfishFoundation.