Adopt-A-Billfish Program Off and Running

The Adopt-A-Billfish Program began with a journey to Panama, where anglers successfully tagged three billfish with pop-up satellite tags. The anglers administered the first pop-up tags, or "psat" tags, and National Marine Fisheries Service tags to a 600-plus-pound blue marlin caught by Billy Pesch on 50-pound line, a 350-plus-pound black marlin caught by Raleigh Werking on 50-pound line, and an 85-pound Pacific sailfish caught by Joan Vernon on 30-pound line. All were fishing out of Tropic Star Lodge. The first three tags were sponsored respectively by AFTCO, the Presidential Challenge and Panama, and the Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament. Program researchers expected the tags to pop up in a month, at which time the tags should transmit their information to a satellite-based receiver. The three-year Adopt-A-Billfish program hopes to gather information to help scientists better understand billfish species and is soliciting donations to pay for the $4,000 satellite tags. For more information, visit www.preschallenge.com.