Tropic Star Lodge in the lush Darien National Park in Panama has a reputation as the best fishing lodge in the world. It is also the base for the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape Program (ETPSP) and is passionate about the conservation of large pelagic species. Last week, Guy and Jessica Harvey, along with GHRI PhD student, Ryan Logan and Dolphinfish Research Programs Wessley Merten participated in the Tropic Star Billfish Tournament to deploy both satellite and conventional tags on billfish and dolphinfish as part of the 5-year ETPSP. With the help of participating anglers, in a successful citizen
science effort, 71 conventional tags were deployed on dolphinfish and 12 PSAT tags were deployed on billfish and dolphinfish over 5 days on the water, including 2 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, 1 black marlin and 7 dolphinfish. Of the 7 dolphinfish tagged using pop-off archival tags, this expedition represented the first ever deployment of 2 Xtags, which archive high resolution data on depth and temperature, on both male and female dolphinfish in this area of the world by the Dolphinfish Research Program.
The ETPSP is focused on studying the ecology and movement patterns of major game fishes and sharks using state-of-the-art satellite and acoustic tracking in the waters surrounding Tropic Star Lodge and extending throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (ETPS). The goal is to generate scientific information to guide best management and conservation practices for these species, their fisheries and their ecosystems. The ETPS includes the waters and offshore islands belonging to Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Galapagos and Cocos Islands. The ETPS is known for its impressive marine biodiversity and fisheries productivity.