Club members agreed to adopt a nominal length classification system for estimating the length of released fish. Size of catch and the change in size of catch are critical elements used in stock assessments as they indicate possible changes in population structure and in movement patterns. As the conservation ethic grows and catch and release becomes more popular, fewer fish are weighed in and size of catch information becomes less available. This is particularly important in southern California where recreational catches provide the best measure of size of catch for striped marlin. In recent years 90% to 95% of sport caught marlin were released alive. To help meet this need we developed a length classification system to group striped marlin into three length categories.
The three-length class system can be used to estimate the length of released fish and will provide a useful data set to monitor changes in length frequencies. The mean fork-length measurement of striped marlin off southern California since 1990 is 6.7 feet (205 cm). Minimum and maximum mean values are 6 feet (185cm) and 7.5 feet (228cm). A reasonable and simple scale that closely associates with commonly understood measurements.
Length Class1; Less-than 6 feet from the lower jaw tip to the fork of the tail.
Length Class 2; Between 6 to 7.5 feet from the jaw tip to tail fork.
Length Class 3; Greater than 7.5 feet from the lower jaw tip to the fork of the tail.
This information should be reported on the Billfish Tagging Report card if the fish is tagged or given to your club along with the catch location when reporting a release.