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  • Aug 29, 2014
  • Updated: 9:27am
NewsHong Kong
FISHING

Hong Kong anglers reel in 226kg Pacific blue marlin in South China Sea

A Pacific blue marlin reeled in by six Hong Kong men may be among the biggest caught locally

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 July, 2013, 5:29am

A 3.6-metre-long, 226kg Pacific blue marlin reeled in by six amateur deep-sea anglers south of Hong Kong has been described as a "once in a lifetime'' catch by an expert.

It may be among the biggest of the species ever caught in the South China Sea.

The fish took six Hong Kong-based hedge fund traders 3½ hours to reel in aboard their boat, Warbird, 65 nautical miles due south of Aberdeen.

Kim Stuart of the Mandarin Sports Fishing Club said there had been no reports of a blue marlin catch in local waters for at least 15 years.

The team of fishermen, skippered by David Tuthill, 31, caught it last Sunday in perfect weather conditions near the Dongsha Islands.

"It was a constant team effort between the driver of the boat, the angler and the team helping around you," said Tuthill of the battle to get the fish on board.

He said he could not have landed the marlin without the help of his fellow fishermen Brad Ainslie, 35, Greg Moore, 31, Andrew Bazarian, 41, Dan Shepherd, 31 and Carl Vine, 36. The fish had died by the time they landed it, Ainslie said.

Australia-based billfish expert Dr Julian Pepperell, author of Fishes of the Open Ocean, confirmed from photo evidence that the financiers had hooked a blue marlin, and described it as a once-in-a-lifetime catch.

Like its Atlantic cousin, the Pacific blue marlin is "phenomenally powerful" and puts up "incredible fights", he said. "On a number of occasions they will die fighting all the way through."

Dr Pepperell said the catch was all the more unusual because the fish was outside its favoured habitat in cooler, less deep waters.

Stuart, a 26-year veteran of the Hong Kong fishing community said: "It's extremely rare. They generally prowl 48 degrees north [of Hong Kong] and 48 degrees south so to be this far north is quite a way out of it's normal range ," he said.

Stuart believes the catch could help boost interest in fishing in Hong Kong.

According to figures provided by the International Game Fishing Association, the marlin would have been worth US$10,000.

The world record for a blue marlin was last set in 1982 when a couple caught a 4.9-metre, 624kg fish off Hawaii.

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This article is now closed to comments

hankt
A few factual errors in the story, but great catch.
The blue marlin is known to range from 2-24 degrees north of the equater from May to October usually in water up to 30 C. They are normally found in deeper water however.
Kim must have been misquoted as this marlin seeks warm water and RANGES 48 degrees south to 48 degrees north.
In regards to ignorant comments to this article, sport fishing is not a cause of threat to marlin. Accidental, or on purpose, kills of billfish account for less than 1% of mortality. The majority of sport fisherman release all billfish except those that have become injured or too exhausted to be revived.
People in the Pacific and Indian Oceans consider the blue marlin excellent food fish although the mercury levels are indeed found to be high in samples.
Those of us in the sport fishing community regularly release fish such as these, although the blue malin catch in the shallow waters near Hong Kong is rare.
If it would have been possible, David and crew would have released this beautiful animal as well.
Get your local fish market and seafood restaurants to stop carrying reef fish high in ciguatera poison and stop worrying about the accidental, and one in fifty (or higher) ratio, killing of a billfish which was eaten.
Stop the useless, ignorant belly-aching.
dean.sk.5
LOL, don't you love it when annoying animal right activists and environmentalists jumping to say, save the world. Animals are there to serve humans and there is no such things as extinction of buffalos, elephants, lions etc... if these guys ever visited Asia or Africa to see them in real not from reading newspapers. Blue marlins were everywhere in Indonesia water, when I was swimming in the ocean, they kept coming to poke on my feet.
dod_od
Blue Marlin is listed as "Vulnerable" with stocks declining between 31-38%. If fished then need to be able to ensure that you can tag and release. Would be better if we didn't hunt them at all. IUCN listing can be found ****www.iucnredlist.org/details/170314/0
Big game hunting for sport of the big five, lions, buffalo, leopards, elephant, rhinoceros, has pretty much disappeared. When will our attitudes change towards sea creatures, that are every bit as magnificent (if maybe not as cuddly)

Biggest killer of all is the fishing industry, but that doesn't mean that we cannot all take individual responsibility and make the right choice.
14u2nv
I was on a boat that hooked a marlin less than 25 miles off Po Toi island in HK waters 2 years ago..... the guy fought it for over 4 hours before the line broke and it got away.
For those who don't know (and judging by some of the ignorance displayed in previous comments many clearly don't), the standard practice for a fish of this size is to tag and release.
Anything too small gets chucked back in.
And anything else caught is eaten. So yeah, it's probably one of the most sustainable ways of eating fishing (and having fun while you catch it).
sawyer
Green, its called recreational fishing with a rod, reel, line, and bait. I did it with my dad when i was a kid and it was some of the earliest memories i have of him and the outdoors. I have daughters and I took them all fishing in Canada last year and they loved it. We caught a bunch of bass and we cooked it up for dinner as a family.. recreational fishing is the MOST SUSTAINABLE form of fishing that exists. I'm 100% behind you on the green front and on sustainable farming and fishing but you need to get your facts straight before you attack these guys.
sawyer
The blue marlin is not an endangered species and roams the ocean freely, it is caught all the time in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan and is eaten regularly. I'm assuming the SCMP is celebrating this catch because it is a first for hong kong and the idea of a group of guys going 100km offshore into the middle of the ocean and fighting a fish of this size for 4 hours is pretty exciting. Marlin probably get killed all the time by local fishermen out there and we just dont hear about it so dont worry.... i doubt these "hedge fund guys" are going to hunt down the pandas!
Green
What sort of a "sport" or "hobby" is this? Can these people do something to preserve our planet and work on sustainability instead? This is really unfair not just for the fish, but for our next generation. I take it these people do not have any kids.
friedrich.nehl@googlemail.com
First they "caught" our money - now they go for rare fish... Shame, shame, shame!
hankt
Friederich, you are just plain ignorant.
dynamco
www.takemarlinoffthemenu.org/Why_Take_Marlin_off_the_Menu
‘Most people also are unaware that marlin have been documented to accumulate harmful levels of mercury. The United States Environmental Protection Agency health guidelines for fish consumption indicate that any fish with a mercury level greater than 1.5 parts per million (ppm) should not be consumed in any amount. Marlin, especially large specimens, have been found to have mercury levels as high as 15 ppm, and a recent study reported an average mercury level of 4.08 ppm for blue marlin sampled in (clean) Australian waters.’
enjoy your fish'n chips

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