NOAA Fisheries has honored Miami charterboat operators Jimbo Thomas and brother Rick for tagging more than 1,000 sailfish for the agency’s cooperative tagging program aboard the Thomas Flyer. A news release issued by NOAA says the brothers are the first to surpass 1,000 tags for any Atlantic billfish species. On average, the Thomases tag more than 120 sailfish per year.
Tagging fish helps scientists better understand their mortality rates, movements, and overall health of the stock. That data is obtained when tagged fish are recaptured.
The Thomases, based at Miamarina at Bayside in downtown Miami, also are top taggers for the South Carolina-based Dolphinfish Research Program. They tagged 159 dolphin in 2012.
• Although South Florida’s Atlantic sailfish season so far has been lackluster, anglers are having a banner winter on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The first leg of the Los Suenos Signature Billfish Series that concluded Jan. 19 set a record for releasing 1,412 billfish — 1,406 sails and six marlin — among 38 boats in three days. The winning boat was Dragin Fly, skippered by Tucker Smith, with 62 sails and one marlin, good for $47,500.
• NOAA Fisheries has turned down two petitions filed last year seeking to have white marlin listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. It’s the second time since 2001 that the agency has denied requests by James Chambers and the Center for Biological Diversity to implement special protection for the billfish species. In its so-called “90-day finding,” NOAA wrote that the petitions “do not present substantial scientific information” to warrant a listing.
• Biscayne National Park is getting a new superintendent. Brian Carlstrom, deputy superintendent at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Hagerstown, Md., will begin his new job in March, replacing Mark Lewis, who is retiring. Carlstrom has worked for the National Park Service for more than 20 years.
Big Cypress National Preserve, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that they will extend the public comment period on the draft management plan for allowing hunting in the “Addition Lands” of the Big Cypress. Officials will accept comments through Feb. 14. More information: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/.
• Alex Bristol of Team Cressi speared the largest fish — a 31-pound African pompano — in the Jack Kearns Classic V hosted by South Florida Freedivers last weekend in Miami. Top team honors went to Team Cressi’s Harolf Dean and Jose Santeiro. Team Octopus Have Feelings, with Manny Menendez and Manny Chica, speared the most lionfish, 18. Henry “Ballenita” Torres of Team Speared got the largest lionfish at 16 1/2 inches.
• Still haven’t decided who to pick in your Super Bowl pool? Maybe you ought to follow the lead of tipsters Hugh and Buffett. The two resident manatees at Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory on Friday both chose the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl. They made their selections by swimming to special targets in the aquarium marked with team logos. Lest you think they’re just guessing: Mote officials said Buffett has selected the correct team each of the past five years, and Hugh has picked the winner three of the past five years.
• The Color Me Rad 5K kicked off its first year with 5,000 participants, with a lot of first-time runners coming out for a fun-filled run.
There were no timers or first-place medals, but the proceeds from this color run will go to benefit the Miami Dolphins Foundation and several other charities.
Covered in color from head to toe, Fernanda Ulvert, 24, of Brickell, thought this race was a bright change from what she has seen at other events.
“It was different [than other races], you got to participate a lot more,” Ulvert said. “I ran in one that we all we had on glowsticks and glow-necklaces. As we ran in through the dark. [Color Me Rad] was amazing. They color bombed us at different stations and we got there late so they concentrated on me and my cousin. My face is orange like a bad tan, I have color down into my roots and I am pink, blue, orange and green. It was so much fun!”
The thousands of participants ran through a course laid out in the parking area of Sun Life Stadium where stations where setup with volunteers armed with color bombs (packages of colored cornstarch) bombarded the runners as they passed through.
With the proceeds from the 5K going to help out the local community, it was a race where everyone who got to participate was a winner.
Corey W. Campbell