While many tour­na­ments al­low the har­vest of blue mar­lin, few out­line what is to be done with the fish af­ter it is weighed. All too of­ten it is re­turned to the sea for dis­posal. How­ever, the South Carolina Gov­er­nor’s Cup Billfishing

Se­ries is dif­fer­ent in that it has a wan­ton-waste rule for its events. Tour­na­ment co­or­di­na­tor Amy Whi­taker Dukes, of the South Carolina Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, says the rule re­quires that the mar­lin re­main cold and in ed­i­ble con­di­tion af­ter cap­ture. “Fish­ing teams ei­ther use a large in­su­lated fish bag or wrap the fish in iced tow­els once it’s boated,” she says.

“Af­ter the fish is mea­sured at the dock, to en­sure it meets the 105-inch min­i­mum, and weighed, it’s placed on ice while bi­ol­o­gists take sam­ples, ex­am­ine the stom­ach con­tents and re­move the otoliths. Once that process is com­plete, the boat crew has three hours to prop­erly clean the fish. Se­ries rules en­sure that if you’re go­ing to take a mar­lin in a tour­na­ment, you will show the fish re­spect in mak­ing sure it is con­sumed and not wasted. If any of the above steps are not fol­lowed, the team is dis­qual­i­fied. We feel this show­cases our strong com­mit­ment to con­ser­va­tion and re­search.”

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