Striped Marlin, or Kajikia audax, are a magnificent apex predator that inhabit the waters off the coast of Baja California. Easily identified by their elongated bills (or noses) and brightly striped bodies, these fish are astounding swimmers built for speed and are mesmerizing to see in the open ocean.
Unfortunately, they are fished commercially and also for sport, with an estimated 12,000 caught annually through recreational fishing activities near Cabo San Lucas alone. The IUCN Red List classifies the striped marlin as “near threatened” and in a state of population decline, meaning that this species may become threatened or endangered in the near future without the intervention of conservation efforts. Overfishing, both commercially and recreationally, are contributing to this serious issue.
Not only will your trip with us bring you face to face in the water with these amazing fish, but you will also have the opportunity to get directly involved with research activities that will help us better understand their migration and biology. Your assistance during these expeditions will directly contribute towards conservation efforts to protect these remarkable creatures. Research activities will include surveys of the abundance & diversity of animals around the study area, including marlin, sea lions, dolphins, and more! You will also collect a suite of important environmental data to help us understand the types of conditions these animals are found in, including water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.
But, one of the biggest gaps in knowledge that this project hopes to fill is where and when striped marlin reproduce. It is currently thought that they migrate South in the summer months to spawn. This is particularly problematic because this is when many fishing tournaments occur where anglers are targeting the largest marlin they can catch, which may be females on the verge of spawning. Some of these tournaments are “catch and release” and claim no harm to the individual fish caught, but this is very likely untrue. Previous research has shown that catch & release programs do not help, with the data showing that 100% of those bleeding from their gills and 63% of those hooked deeply die within 5 days of being released. Join us next autumn for not only the experience of a lifetime, but to help protect these incredible animals.