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World’s Foremost Billfish Scientists Gather at IGFA HQ
Movements, management, stock status, biology and commercial and recreational fisheries for the world’s billfish species will be the focus of the sixth International Billfish Symposium Sept. 14-17 at International Game Fish Association headquarters in Dania Beach, FL.
Co-chaired by IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser and Dr. David Kerstetter, assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, the conference is expecting about 75 scientists from around the world to present the latest research on sailfish, marlin, spearfish, and swordfish. The proceedings will be published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.
The last billfish symposium was held in Taiwan in 2013; this is the first such session in Florida. The meetings have been held on an ad hoc basis since 1972.
“At the early billfish symposia, we didn’t know much of anything,” Kerstetter said. “But the models, techniques and technology have gotten better. We’re asking questions about post-release survival, stock assessment questions, incorporating oceanographic data, all sorts of diet studies, information on artisanal fisheries in other countries.”
While most of the sessions tend to be heavy on science, there will be a question-and-answer session at 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 17 featuring a panel of prominent South Florida charter captains such as Bouncer Smith and Tony DiGiulian. It is free and open to the public.
“That should be an interesting opportunity. We recognize there’s quite a bit of interest in billfish in South Florida,” Kerstetter said.
Evening social events also will be on the agenda. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is helping to sponsor the event.
Symposium registration costs $350; $150 for guests. To register, go HERE.