In a letter dated May 4, 2012, Project Tarpon’s Scott Alford requested the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series cooperate in a “collaborative effort” to satellite tag fish caught and weighed by the PTTS. The project would be fully funded.”At least two of the tarpon research projects being conducted by the marine biologists at the University of Miami could draw a great deal of benefit from the participation of the anglers competing in the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series,” he wrote. “The first is the tarpon specific weight formula research, and the second project is the satellite tagging program.”
The “tarpon specific weight formula” is a reference to a project to fine tune a method of calculating a fish’s weight by measuring it at the boat rather than towing it to the beach and hoisting it on a scale.
He notes that “since killing tarpon is prohibited in many locations and certainly frowned on in most, it is difficult for these researchers to obtain weight data for tarpon.” But luckily “the PTTS offers a unique opportunity for the biologists …”
He continues: “The possible cooperation between the PTTS and biologists is obviously a win-win for both.”
And finally: “The PTTS has a long standing cooperation with biologists and research efforts. The satellite tagging seems like a natural and easy fit to further the PTTS’s conservation and research objectives.” And “this is truly a great opportunity for both the PTTS and tarpon research. I hope we can make it happen.”
The PTTS, Alford says, never responded. They didn’t “make it happen.” Color us shocked. Not much of surprise on this one.
Alford, of course, never had a chance. A satellite tag, obviously, would track the movement of the tournament’s tarpon after they are gaffed, towed, hoisted from the water and released. The same tag would also, obviously, track the non-movement of the tournament’s tarpon after they are gaffed, towed, hoisted from the water and released. You can do the math. The PTTS already did.
The PTTS also knows those weigh boat shots, those up close and personal eye candy interviews with the jubilant team captain, make Must See TV for the folks watching at home. A perfected tarpon specific weight formula would end the need for gaff, drag and weigh. The scales could be replaced by a far less photogenic and equally boring boatside tape measure. The tarpon would obviously benefit. But what do fish know about making good TV?
In his letter, Alford also notes that “the PTTS gains by having additional material for the TV shows, which many viewers will likely find fascinating …”
In reality, many viewers will likely find it fascinating that most of those satellite tags on those “live release” tarpon aren’t moving.
After waiting, and waiting, and waiting for a response from the PTTS, a frustrated Alford went public with his letter. He could have saved himself the stamp.
PTTS apologists will likely claim Project Tarpon has some sinister agenda. They will, given enough time, ultimately link Project Tarpon to al-Qaeda and Planned Parenthood. That this new-fangled satellite technology is unproven. That developing a tarpon specific weight formula is yet another attempt at phony baloney voodoo science. The PTTS noise machine will, predictably, drone away.
Alford unintentionally went to the heart of the debate (and ended any chance the PTTS would cooperate) by noting “killing tarpon is prohibited in many locations and certainly frowned on in most.” That in this respect, “the PTTS offers a unique opportunity.”
We didn’t know how special we were.
See for yourself. You can read Alford’s letter here. The gaff and drag Photoshop Rangers over at that other Internet place can have someone read it to them.