Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 3, pp 505–514 | Cite as

Near real time satellite tracking of striped marlin (Kajikia audax) movements in the Pacific Ocean

  • John C. HoldsworthEmail author
  • Tim J. Sippel
  • Barbara A. Block
Original Paper


High-resolution satellite locations were obtained from striped marlin using Argos transmitters attached to the upper lobe of the caudal fin. Twenty-six striped marlin were tagged off New Zealand (2005–2007) and tracked as far as the central Pacific Ocean. Caudal fin mounted Argos tags generated 1,524 locations during a total of 659 tracking days [mean 25 (±21.24) days per fish and 2.3 (±2.30) locations per day]. 38% of locations have an estimated accuracy of ±1 km or better. Displacement rates from high quality locations ranged from 2.9 to 170.8 km in a 24 h period, with a mode at 20–30 km and a mean of 45 km/day. The caudal fin attachment methodology and antenna configuration was adjusted each season to improve transmission life and data quality, with the best results obtained in the last year of deployments (2007). The longest track duration was 102 days, with a total displacement of 4,959 km and a total track distance from all locations received of 6,850 km. Tag shedding and antenna failure appear to have limited the duration of tracks from SPOT tags. The high temporal and spatial resolution data revealed behaviours not previously observed in striped marlin, including associations to subsurface bathymetric features. High resolution location data such as these are useful inputs for statistical models used to investigate habitat selection and switching between different behavioural modes. The geolocations calculated using ukfsst estimates from PAT tag data had RMS errors of 1.01° latitude and 0.59° longitude when compared with SPOT tag Argos locations.


Root Mean Square Error Argos Root Mean Square Error Estimate Blue Marlin Argos Satellite 



We thank the trustees of the New Zealand Marine Research Foundation who initiated this research and provided primary funding for this study. The Tagging of Pacific Pelagics provided support for this study through grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Packard Foundation. The New Zealand Big Game Fishing Council and many of their affiliated clubs have been consistent contributors. Professor P.S. Davie instigated satellite tagging of striped marlin in New Zealand and has been a mentor throughout. Enterprise Motor Group provided significant support to make the 2006 tagging possible. The contribution of the owners and captains of the primary tagging boats B. Marshall, F. Lewis, T. Francis, C. Fraser, and P. Saul is much appreciated. We thank P. Kim of Stanford University for assistance with the geolocation and satellite telemetry assessment. This research complies with the laws of New Zealand and has University of Auckland ethical approval, number AEC/11/2005/R43


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Holdsworth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tim J. Sippel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Barbara A. Block
    • 3
  1. 1.Blue Water Marine ResearchTutukakaNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Tuna Research and Conservation Center, Hopkins Marine StationStanford UniversityPacific GroveUSA

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