Revolutionary Way to Tag Game Fish Under Water

A new spear-tagging concept from New Zealand could revolutionize spear fishing, says its inventor

Tagging and releasing game fish has long been popular with anglers. Now, a well-known media personality in New Zealand, Matt Watson, has come up with a way to tag game fish while in the water with them. What could be called spear-tagging allows a spear fisherman for the first time the option to “spear and release.” The fishing and diving enthusiast’s invention allows a spear gun to fire a tag into the side of a fish, as the video shows. Instead of killing a fish, a spearfisher can assist scientists in better understanding fish.

The spear-tagger is a hunter no less than an armed spearfisher, but he is looking to stick a dart tag in the right area of a fish like this large striped marlin off northern New Zealand.Matt Watson / The ITM Fishing Show

Watson is currently in discussions with a large international manufacturer of spearfishing gear about the manufacture and distribution of the spear tagger, vowing to direct profits to marine conservation.

Watson, star of New Zealand's long-running ITM fishing show, hopes his invention will revolutionize the sport of spearfishing. Watson is no stranger to fish-conservation initiatives, having spearheaded several successful projects. He's also not a stranger to the spotlight, particularly after leaping from a helicopter onto the back of a striped marlin at the surface in 2009 (meriting an appearance with David Letterman).

Matt Watson chats with David Letterman after a viral video showed Watson leaping from a helicopter onto the back of a marlin cruising at the surface.Matt Watson / The ITM Fishing Show

See the full spear-tagging video here.