Sat Tag Marathon


Tagged Marlin that has been ReleasedIntroducing a tagging & research competition hosted by Tropic Star Lodge, partnered with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) and Nova Southeastern University (NSU). The aim of the Inter-species sat-tag marathon is to get Tropic Star’s guests to participate in marine research and provide data about various species movements, distance, depth and other patterns to learn more ways we can help conserve the fisheries in the eastern Pacific region. Tagging and satellite time is expensive, the inter species marathon is intended to offset the cost of the marine research, while providing some fun for the sponsors.

Guests fishing at Tropic Star Lodge have the opportunity to purchase and sponsor a pop-up archival tag (PAT) or a smart position and temperature tag (SPOT) to deploy on a worthy billfish. The capable crew at Tropic Star can aid the guest/ tag sponsor to catch, tag & release a billfish during their time at Tropic Star. If a prize-worthy billfish wasn’t found during a guest’s stay, our Tropic Star crew will catch and release a billfish they determine would be a good candidate for tagging for the marathon at a later date. (without the tag sponsor present). If the GHOF/ NSU marine scientist or Guy Harvey is at the lodge at the same time a sponsoring guest, they may join them aboard during the tagging expedition.

Tagged fish will be monitored by marine biologists at NSU and GHOF and results /details will be available on the Tropic Star Lodge website.

At the end of each fishing season the billfish which has traveled the farthest will win a complementary return trip to Tropic Star Lodge for another fishing adventure. Second place winners receive Guy Harvey original art. 3rd place wins a Guy Harvey giclee and a bevy of Guy Harvey gear.

PAT tag sponsorship costs: $5,000 per tag
SPOT tag sponsorship costs: $2,500 per tag

Guy Harvey inserting a Sat TagGuy Harvey Photgraphing tagged fishGood Tag

Marlin with a tracking devise and tag

Our lodge has been in existence for over five decades and we are years ahead on our conservation efforts. Tropic Star was not only the first fishing resort to begin releasing all roosterfish for the last eight years, but more recently, all Cubera snapper (with very few exceptions).

Tagging sheet helps keep a good log of the fish caught in the area

Tropic Star Lodge universally adopted the use of circle hooks in the early nineties to improve the survival rates of released fish. Tropic Star, along with various leaders of Panama have been responsible for establishing a 20-mile non-commercial fishing zone around the plentiful waters off Pinas Bay and also a billfish decree that protects all billfish and roosterfish from being killed commercially.

Bonita rigged with a circle hookIn 2010, Panama secured a national decree that banned large-scale purse seines from Panamanian waters. This set the standard for other Central American countries. Past President, Ernesto Perez Balladares won the IGFA conservation award for the country of Panama.

The biggest obstacle now is the enforcement of the laws already in place. This is one of the many challenges that the new President, Juan Carlos Varela is facing while continuing to improve the conservation efforts and enforcement in the Republic of Panama.


Blue Marlin Habitat Defined in Three Hot Spots by University of Miami/CABA Researchers

University of Miami Blue Marlin Habitat map

The University of Miami Billfish Research Program has been deploying numerous pop-off satellite archival tags (PSATs) on blue marlin off the coast of Central America in partnership with the Central American Billfish Association (CABA). Results of the experiments were integrated with data made available to use by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) from tags deployed as a part of their International Great Marlin Race. Blue marlin satellite tag migration tracks depict three areas of high residency, or preference, and their movements around ‘hotspots’, much like oceanic highways for blue marlin.

In conjunction with the satellite tagging data, UM Billfish scientists analyzed historical catch and effort data from industrial longline fisheries (contributed by the Secretariat of Pacific Communities and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission). Data selected from the 1950’s and 1960’s prior to major proliferation of industrial longlining (as color image above), gives an insight on the relatively undisturbed abundance distribution of the species before overexploitation took place. The collaborative tagging data for the period 2010-2016 (track trajectories in image above) depicts movement trajectories and habitat preferences that still correspond to those of the blue marlin’s undisturbed population abundance distribution, underlining the importance of three major hotspots. These hotspots include the waters around French Polynesia in the sub-equatorial central Pacific, the waters around the Hawaiian Island chain, and the eastern Pacific off Central America to the Galapagos Islands. The UM research team formed by Drs. Nelson Ehrhardt and Mark Fitchett and PhD Candidates Bruce Pohlot and Julie Brown is unlocking information on the physical and biological importance of these three hotspots- not only in terms of recent tagging data, but also in concurrence with historical significance of the exploited population dynamics of blue marlin extracted from fishery data. For more information, please contact them at  These research efforts are supported by the recreational billfish fishing community and by those individuals that believe in marine conservation.

University of Miami/CABA Researchers Define Sailfish Habitat in the Pacific off the Americas

University of Miami/CABA Researchers Define Sailfish Habitat in the Pacific off the AmericasScientists from the University of Miami Billfish Research Program have analyzed catch and effort data (provided by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission) of sailfish caught incidentally in purse seine sets in tuna fisheries throughout the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Results from the analysis confirm that sailfish are the only billfish species to be associated with coastal waters between Mexico and Colombia in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Sailfish relative abundance distributions are depicted in the color image above. In collaboration with the Central American Billfish Association (CABA), the University of Miami scientists also deployed pop-off satellite archival tags (PSATs) to generate information on residency of individual fish. As shown in the figure above, habitat use defined from tagging corresponds well with the relative abundance of sailfish caught as bycatch in purse seine tuna fisheries in the region.

The UM research team formed by Drs. Nelson Ehrhardt and Mark Fitchett and PhD Candidates Bruce Pohlot and Julie Brown is focusing their research on the interactive population dynamics of billfish relative to their exposure to commercial fisheries. Sailfish population densities are highest in the study region, providing uniquely high catch rates that support the well-known recreational fisheries off Central America and Panama. For more information, please contact these scientists at These research efforts are supported by the recreational billfish fishing community and by those individuals that believe in marine conservation. 2016 Billfish Research from University of Miami - Download here

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Tropic Star Lodge

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Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Tropic Star Operations 
18331 Pines Blvd.
Box 116
Pembroke Pines, FL 33029

Contact us by Phone:

US callers: 1-800-682-3424
International callers: 001-407-843-0125
Fax: 1-407-308-0092

Office Hours: 9 am to 5 pm EST (Monday thru Friday)

Panama City Office:

507-396-6414 or 507-396-6413

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