PIFG Statewide Tagging Challenge

PIFG’s Statewide Tagging Challenge was established in 2004 through the collaborative effort of the State of Hawaii DAR Ulua Tagging Project, PIFG and the community of papio/ulua fishing tournaments across the state. The Tagging category within Hawaii’s popular shore-based tournament provides a tremendous opportunity for PIFG to support fishermen, raise awareness about science and management and demonstrate conservation in the fishing community.The Tagging category supports the PIFG Fishermen’s Pledge for the Future to encourage responsible fishing by promoting “take only what is needed.”  The Tagging Challenge provides incentives to participating tournaments to encourage anglers to tag and release papio/ulua during tournaments. The program has worked well, especially when papio and ulua are caught during tournaments that are under the minimum qualifying weights. Tagging and releasing larger fish is also commonly practiced for anglers who have already caught a potential tournament winner but can still compete for prizes in Tagging Challenge category. All in all, the Tagging Challenge provides a win-win initiative for tournaments, fishermen, scientists and, especially, our fishery resources.Tagging CategorySince the start of the first tagging category held in 2004 at first S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge in Hilo. Tagging of papio and ulua during tournaments has become a common occurrence. The category gives responsible anglers the incentive and opportunity to conserve resources by tagging and releasing papio and ulua. If anglers have enough fish to take home or if the fish are too small to qualify for weighing in, it can be tagged and released. Tagging and releasing provides valuable data on the papio/ulua resource at the same time allowing the fish to grow and reproduce. When anglers tag and release during participating tournaments and submit their tagging data into a lottery they become eligible for great prizes. Anglers who submit category qualifying tagging data and do not win a prize are still eligible for a Grand Prize drawing awarded in October at the Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival on Oahu.

Recent Ulua Tagging trends in Tournaments

Tagging efforts and the total number of anglers have grown steadily over the past few years with the increase in tournament participation. What started out in 2004 at the S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge with a handful of tagging anglers that tagged 2 papio. Since then tagging participation by tournaments and anglers has increased tremendously. In 2010, tournament tagging in three tournaments had more ulua (10 lb. plus) tagged than papio (10” fl up to 10 lb.). This was the first time in any tournament that tagged ulua outpaced tagged papio. Tournaments that have achieved this milestone include: Molokai Top-Water Challenge, S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge, and the Hilo Casting Club. The three tournaments combined tagged a total of 32 ulua and 25 papio.

The total number of ulua tagged per year increased since 2004, the start of the PIFG Tagging Challenge category. (Graph represents all species of ulua over 10 lbs.)

Mahalo to all the tournaments that have graciously hosted the PIFG Tagging Challenge Category.

Aquahunters  Tournament
Atlapac Weighmasters Tournament
Eastside Shoreline Challenge Tournament
Eddie Carvalho “Pole Benders” Tournament
Family Feud Papio Trolling Tournament
Hilo Casting Club Tournament
Hot Rods Shoreline Tournament
Lanakila Meals On Wheels Papio Trolling Tournament
Lihue Fishing Supply Tournament
Mark White Statewide All Tag & Release Tournament
Molokai Kine Whipping Club Tournament
Molokai Top-Water Challenge
Ninja Shootout Tournament
Obake Shootout Tournament
Ohana Family Tournament
OTS Family Shoreline Tournament
S. Tokunaga Ulua Challenge
Waialua Boat Club Papio Trolling Tournament


Support and encourage Hawaii’s fishermen to practice responsible fishing by hosting or sponsoring the PIFG Statewide Tagging Challenge category in your tournament. If your club, group or organization is interested in participating with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group please give us a call at (808) 265-4962.