Transboundary movement of sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, off the Pacific coast of Central America

Eric D. Prince, David B. Holts, Derke Snodgrass, Eric S. Orbesen, Jiangang Luo, Michael L. Domeier, Joseph E. Serafy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw in Shaw and Nodder, 1792), is one of the most frequently caught istiophorids along the Pacific coast of Central America. Although conventional constituent-based tagging of sailfish in this region has been ongoing for several decades, little insight has emerged regarding their movements among multinational territorial waters. We used pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) to evaluate questions of management unit for sailfish in this region. A total of 41 PSATs were deployed on sailfish caught with recreational gear off Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. The 32 deployments that transmitted data yielded displacements (point of release to point of first pop-up transmission) that ranged from 21 to 572 nmi (39-1059 km). Monitoring durations ranged from 5 to 118 d, for a total aggregate of 1571 d. More than half of the deployments (22 of 32, or 68%) resulted in displacement vectors outside the EEZ or territorial waters of the country of tagging (lower bounds estimate). In addition, upper bounds estimates of tracks using two algorithms ranged from 57 to 65 transboundary crossings; average days to make a transboundary crossing ranged from 12 to 20 d, respectively. Given the relatively short residence time in the national waters of tagging, these movements strongly suggest that this resource requires management at the regional rather than national level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-838
Number of pages12
JournalBulletin of Marine Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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