Throughout the 21-year history of this tagging program, we have had some pretty rare and exciting tag recovery reports. For example, back in August, 2015, a tag was removed from a dolphinfish fillet in a Whole Foods in Omaha, Nebraska! We have also received reports from beach combers who have found tags on different beaches or barrier islands. While these reports do not constitute valid recoveries, they still provide some information about the fishery and tagging activity. Recently, we had another unique report but it was discovered with a modern twist. Chef and angler Cedric Taquin of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was looking through the Instagram feed of a Venezuelan angler, Captain Luis Ferrera, and noticed Captain Ferrera had posted a tagged dolphin in the past. We reached out to Captain Ferrera and he confirmed that he caught the 24 lb female on February 2nd, 2019, while fishing La Guaria Bank, VZ. The image he shared on Instagram was posted the day of the event! We did not learn of this recapture, however, until last month. The fish was actually tagged by Captain Jeff Salter while fishing aboard Lady Helen off South Florida on June 21st, 2018. Captain Salter measured a fork-length of 19″ which puts the growth of this female at 26″ in 226 days or .12″ per day. This is the second recovery for our program off Venezuela but the first from our network via Instagram. Another exciting recovery we received recently via WhatsApp was from Lixandra Mayeli Alcequiez of Cabrera, Dominician Republic, whose father recaptured a fish tagged and released by Captain Don Gates and the Killin’ Time II fishing team last July off Cudjoe Key, Florida. Lixandra’s father reported the fish weighed 16 pounds gutted and was caught at a fish aggregating device (FAD) 10 miles off Playa del Puerto, DR, on 2.20.2022. Captain Gates measured 18″ to the fork. This is our third recovery from the Keys/South Florida region to the north coast of the Domincian Republic. With these two new international recoveries, the Dolphinfish Research Program has documented 22 movements from the U.S East Coast to locations throughout the Western Central Atlantic and Caribbean Sea.
The first recovery we had in Venezuela also occurred in February but that fish was tagged and released aboard Summergirl on June 8th, 2007, off Charleston, South Carolina, and was recovered 263 days later on February 26th, 2008. As for the additional recoveries in the Dominican Republic for fish tagged and released along the U.S. East Coast, the Miami based charter boat the Thomas Flyer had two of their tagged fish recaptured along the north coast of DR. The first fish was tagged and released off Miami, FL, on June 3rd, 2010, and the fish was recaptured 192 days later on December 12th, 2010. Similar to the most recent recovery, Thomas Flyer’s second DR recovery was tagged and released in July and the fish was recovered in February. Total time at large for the Thomas Flyer’s 2017 DR recovery was 223 days, only 13 days slower than Killin’ Time II’s 2022 recovery.