During the fall of 2011, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) plans to launch a Yellowfin Tuna Tagging Program for the Gulf of Mexico.
The program will promote a culture of catch, tag and release in the recreational fishing community while contributing to the scientific data necessary to further understand the behaviors of yellowfin tuna.
Tagging tuna can provide information about their movements, migrations, stock structure, growth, population size, mortality, schooling behavior and physiology.
According to data from NOAA, the size and number of yellowfin caught are decreasing, and the downward trend has been happening since 1999.
"The new tuna tagging program will provide baseline information for the population models used to assess the health of the stock of this valuable fishery," said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.
"It will also help clarify the evidence that yellowfin migratory patterns have been altered by the presence of offshore oil platforms."
LDWF plans to kick off the program with a tag-and-release tournament at Venice Marina on Saturday, September 24.
With the success of the 2011 redfish tournaments, the department added a Yellowfin Tuna Fall Shootout to their Louisiana Saltwater Series.
By encouraging live tag and release, the series has focused attention on the conservation of our marine resources.
This is the first tournament of its kind in the Gulf of Mexico, and there is a 100 percent payout for first, second and third place finishers. Payout is determined based upon the total number of boats entered. A $5,000 prize is up for grabs to the chartered boat with the most tagged yellowfin.
There is also a kill fish division, and the team with the largest tuna weighed will win an offshore tackle package valued at $3,000.
There is a $500 entry fee per boat for the tournament, with a maximum of eight anglers total on each team.
Additional information, including rules, regulations and entry forms will soon be available at www.lasaltwaterseries.com