Research findings from the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

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Crowds have been lining up at Big Rock Landing all week waiting for fishermen to bring in their catch of the day. 

It’s part of the 61st Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. Wolverine is in the lead as of Thursday evening reeling in a 588 lb. blue marlin. 

But after they’ve been caught, the fish are hoisted to the scales by weighing masters. The animals are then loaded to a truck and sent to nearby research institutions to be analyzed. 

One of the institutions include North Carolina State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology in Morehead City. 

Dr. Jeff Buckel, a professor at the school says more than 130 blue marlins have been studied at the school since 1988.

So far this year, nine blue marlins, 73 dolphins, and two wahoos have been brought to the lab. 

Dr. Buckel’s team studies the diet of the fishes to compare what the species are eating and if there are any changes in their eating habits. 

His findings show the blue marlin, dolphin, and wahoo diets are similar through time.

Dr. Buckel says blue marlin is a rare species to study. 

Through their findings, they’ve also learned frigid and bullet mackerel species are important food sources for dolphin and wahoo fish. 

“That’s a result of our work as well as others along the east coast that has found those two prey species to be an important food for these animals,” said Buckel.

Other institutions like Duke University and the University of North Carolina have also taken part in the research. 

Dolphin, wahoo and tuna fish are considered game fish. The animals are returned to the fishermen after being sampled by researchers. 

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