A tag-and-release yellowfin tournament based out of Venice Marina on Sept. 24 will kick off a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries initiative to encourage recreational anglers to tag and release yellowfin while helping provide scientific data so managers can better understand the species, the agency announced today (Aug. 4).

"The new tuna-tagging program will provide baseline information for the population models used to assess the health of the stock of this valuable fishery," LDWF's Randy Pausina said. "It will also help clarify the evidence that yellowfin migratory patterns have been altered by the presence of offshore oil platforms."

The tournament, dubbed the Yellowfin Tuna Fall Shootout, is being held as part of LDWF's Louisiana Saltwater Series and is the first tournament of its kind in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tagging tuna can provide information about their movements, migrations, stock structure, growth, population size, mortality, schooling behavior and physiology.

NOAA acknowledges that the size and number of yellowfin caught are decreasing, a downward trend that has been happening since 1999.

Payout for the Sept. 24 event will be 100 percent, with first-, second-and third-place finishers splitting the money.

Payout is determined based upon the total number of boats entered.

A $5,000 prize is up for grabs to the chartered boat with the most tagged yellowfin.

There also will be a kill fish division, and the team with the largest tuna weighed will win a $3,000 offshore tackle package.

Entry fee is $500 per boat for the tournament, with a maximum of eight anglers total on each team.

Additional information, including rules, regulations and entry forms will soon be available at www.lasaltwaterseries.com.