New Zealand is perhaps the only country on the planet where Yellowtail Kingfish, Seriola lalandi, venture into very shallow flats for a few months each year. On the flats, yellowtail kings are apex fly fish targets and are real trophy for the fly angler. Kingfish are taonga o te moana.
Recreationally as a sport fish kingfish are worth close to $80mil NZ dollars annually (50million US). Fishing tourism is worth an estimated $946million and this was before this exciting new fishery was discovered. To an international angler yellowtail kingfish are fast becoming a must have species. Historically fish tagging programs in New Zealand have mainly focused around managing sustainablity of fish stocks for harvest. These programs focused on larger kingfish that swim and live around the coast of the north island of New Zealand and offshore islands.
The Revoflyfish tagging program was a pilot program that focused on kingfish that venture onto the flats and into skinny water during the warmer months. These fish are a very valuable resource particularily to the travelling fly angler and not much is known about their movements. The Revoflyfish pilot program has now be taken on by the scientists who provide information to the government agency tasked with managing our fisheries in NZ. Fly fishing has helped illustrate that all kingfish, regardless of size are a valuable resource and can be a real asset to the fishing tourism dollar in NZ. When we tag a king, you can be sure the information gained is put to good use.
If you catch one of these tagged kings we would love to hear from you, share your story and learn what the fish was worth to you. Learning about where the fish travel is part of the story. Contact details are on the tag.