Science at GAMEX bolstering research to make WA fishing better

One-hundred and sixty-four tag-and-released billfish, including 110 black marlin and 13 blue marlin, 5.85kg queenfish on 1kg line and much, much more — the 53rd GAMEX once again did not disappoint!

Joining a healthy contingent of local fishers, WA’s premier game and sportfishing comp drew avid fishers to Exmouth from across the State for the week-long comp, with Recfishwest researchers also in attendance to collect vital species data.

Using science to make fishing better

Mike and John talking to some eager on-lookers about Fishing for Science.

Through the Fishing for Science program, Recfishwest Operations Officer Mike Minutillo and intern John Dempsey collected data from 56 fish during the Exmouth Game Fishing Club-held (EGFC) comp.

From Spanish mackerel, to spangled emperor, golden trevally, queenfish and dolphinfish, participating fishers brought 19 different highly-valued recreational fishing species to the weigh station during event.

Data collected included weight, length, condition, sex and maturity stage, while tissue samples from each fish’s belly were also taken for future research.

Mike said the data, which will be available via the Otlet website, was invaluable to further understanding important recreationally-valuable fishing species.

“Fishing for Science is a tournament monitoring and community engagement program run by Recfishwest,” Mike said.

“The samples will contribute to developing a better knowledge base of recreational fishing species which are prized among WA recfishers, but don’t have much scientific data gathered on them.”

Find out more about the Fishing for Science program here!

Jesse Sutton had a blast at this year’s GAMEX.

More fish, more data

The data collected through Fishing for Science at major fishing tournaments, including GAMEX, can be used to educate the fishing community further about prized fish.

In addition, Mike said Fishing for Science encouraged increased custodianship of their fisheries and fish resources by recfishers.

“At GAMEX, competitors were mad-keen to bring their fish to the weigh station as part of Fishing for Science,” he said.

“It shows WA is home to many passionate fishers who are always striving to be better stewards of our marine resources.

“It truly was fantastic to have the support of the EGFC and everyone who competed in GAMEX – there was a real interest in Fishing for Science and the benefit it brings.”

Dillon Paul has been making the most of the billfish action off Exmouth during GAMEX, catching this black marlin. 📸 Peak Sportfishing Adventures

Check out GAMEX 2021’s full results here!

Once again, there was fantastic fishing and fierce competition across the 53rd annual GAMEX.

Innkeeper Sportfishing Charters’ team enjoyed a fantastic tournament, winning a range of categories including the tag-and-release marlin champion boat.

Anna Passmore claimed the champion female angler title from Jesse Sutton, while Corey Heal edged out Ryan Caporn for the champion male angler gong.

“Thanks again to the EGFC and its weigh-in committee for the help throughout this year’s GAMEX and supporting Fishing for Science,” Mike said.

“And, a big shout-out to all fishers who let us sample the fish that they caught – you’ve helped play a major role in better understanding a number of species.”

Jesse Sutton with a 5.85kg queenfish caught on 1kg line at GAMEX.