Tagged kingfish found off Otago

A kingfish tagged near D'Urville Island in June last year has been recaptured in a commercial fishing net off the Otago coast – the first result for a tagging programme begun in the top of the south nearly two years ago.

The 100-centimetre kingfish was caught, tagged and released by Nelson recreational fisher Peter Connolly, who since its inception has supported the tagging programme promoted by Nelson specialist publication The Fishing Paper. Since then more than 300 fish from the top of the south have been tagged by recreational fishers.

Fishing Paper editor Daryl Crimp said the recaptured fish is the southernmost tagged kingfish ever to have been caught. It had travelled 366 nautical miles in 242 days and grown 7cm.

"It has long been suspected some of these fish are migratory," he said. "This confirms that belief but I am surprised at the incredible distance it travelled. This first catch is already significant, providing scientific researchers valuable information about kingfish behaviour, distribution and movements, so it validates the efforts of those supporting our programme."

Mr Crimp said the "newly rediscovered" top of the south kingfish fishery was possibly one of the best in the country.

The national gamefish tagging programme is a co-operative project between the Ministry of Fisheries, the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council, its affiliated clubs and anglers, commercial fishers and the current fisheries research provider, Blue Water Marine Research Ltd.

There have been more than 16,000 kingfish tagged and released in New Zealand since the programme started in 1975, most in east Northland and the Bay of Plenty. There have been 1200 recaptures reported – a rate of 7.5 per cent.

The Nelson Mail