The first grander blue marlin — weighing more than 1,000 pounds — has been landed off Exmouth, in the Indian Ocean off Australia’s northwest coast. While a number of grander black marlin have been caught and weighed or released in the Pacific off the northeast coast of Australia, this is the first blue.
A group of anglers celebrated New Years Day on a Peak Sportfishing Adventures charter out of Exmouth, skippered by Capt. Eddy Lawler, by hooking and landing the 463.3-kilogram (1,090-pound) blue. The veteran captain was in the spotlight last year for releasing a grand slam — blue marlin, black marlin and striped marlin — on each of three consecutive days.
Criticism on social media for killing the marlin has been widespread, though Lawless told NT News in Australia that no part of the fish would go to waste. Exmouth Game Fishing Club former president Jeni Gates points out that Lawler had released more than 1,000 billfish in the past four years after tagging them.
Jim Harnwell, a past editor and publisher in fishing media and who now works in fisheries management, pointed out in an impassioned defense of the kill on abc.net.au that recreational anglers Down Under release 96 percent of all marlin they catch, versus the tonnage killed on commercial longlines annually.