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mfm22

Tagging whats the point !

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No pun intended. Forgive the ignorance but is this tagging stuff worth the effort.

Saw post with the bloody schoolie[micro] and thought why?

I suppose this is done with good intentions,that these tagged fish will help tell the story of migratory habbits ,spawning, feeding all in the efforts to help Bass population

The question is who gets the info if ever[fish kept and tagged clipped] etc.

how is info interpreted? Is it worth the mortality rate! Its hard enough to catch and release fish trying to do as little harm as possible in the process.

Taking pictures of fish on ground in sand etc. obviously do not help effort.

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View PostNo pun intended. Forgive the ignorance but is this tagging stuff worth the effort.

Saw post with the bloody schoolie[micro] and thought why?

I suppose this is done with good intentions,that these tagged fish will help tell the story of migratory habbits ,spawning, feeding all in the efforts to help Bass population

The question is who gets the info if ever[fish kept and tagged clipped] etc.

how is info interpreted? Is it worth the mortality rate! Its hard enough to catch and release fish trying to do as little harm as possible in the process.

Taking pictures of fish on ground in sand etc. obviously do not help effort.

 

It's used in the assessment and in part how they figure out SB status. Check out www.ASMFC.org click on managed species, the striped bass. Look for the latest stock assessment report. A new report will be available early 2008

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View Post....how is info interpreted?

 

mfm - I'm not up to speed with the longterm project goals of the ALS (American Littoral Society) or some of the other state and federally funded tagging programs throughout the Eastern seaboard but tagging does have it's place in fisheries management practices. I agree with you 100% with the message you are conveying. I also feel that untrained individuals can do more harm than good. But the mortality associated with an individuals tagging impacts (believe it or not) on a fish species is just one very, very, small component of the overall associated mortality for that species.

 

I know of several striped bass study projects / investigations currently being examined at both Rutgers University, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) that employ the use of external physical tagging method for mark/recapture studies. There is a lot of inferred information that can be deciphered from tagging studies. However, to many the only REAL thing tagging efforts can tell you is capture & recapture locations, and physical characteristic differences at time of capture/recapture. Assuming that the recapture does not lead to fish mortality and further study (tissue sampling...)

 

The big problem with physical tagging methods is that they offer no information on the fish BETWEEN capture / recapture periods. What it does in the mean time. This is where OTHER forms of tagging methods play in to the scenario. I'm not going there though as it's slightly off topic.

 

Although I do not have specific experience tagging Striped Bass, Striped Bass are anadromous fishes, and anadromous fishes are something I have extensive experience tagging. I have seen some pretty botched jobs of tagging, fin-clipping, and sometime both. What amazes the hell out of me is how these fish are capable of recovering from such treatment. For example, one year a group of newly hired individuals were brought in to work on a weir for steelhead enumeration. Part of their responsibility was to fin clip the upper lobe of the caudal fin (the tail). This was done to help visually identify the "passed" fish when performing snorkel surveys further up in the river system. After seeing some significantly large fin clips I investigated just what was happening at the weir. Turns out these folks were practically clipping the entire upper lobe off. I was aghast and thought there was no way the fish would be able to survive in this condition. Well, fast forward to this year and now, we are seeing returns of these same mutilated fish. And not just one, we are talking ten, twenty fish. Two years later no less!! And even though the scars have healed over, it's still pretty evident.

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No ... Its not worth it .. imho.. Most tags are bad for the fish . Those loop tags that catch all ,,usually dragging a pile of weed with it . I have tagged .. I think I was pretty good at it . I tagged the fish without even removing it from the water. I used the fish friendly streamline tags from Atlantic Bass Inoceanates . I don't think they even exist anymore . I later learned less than 1 % are ever recovered . You want to think the information is used to save the fish but I believe its used more to target them . I tagged before this site existed and the only people I corresponded with on the web was ABI so hence the name Tagger 0325 ..... 0325 was my tag # ,, I stopped doing it ..only had 1 of my fish (tags) retired that I know of ...

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mad.gif Here

Is a story that will Churn your butter, I caught a tagged a striper two years ago. The tag was loaded with algie appx. 3/4 inches thick. But I could see that there was a big Raw wound also. The wound was caused by the way the tag was put in. It seems to me that the plastic they are made of is very pliable at first and when the hole is made and the tag is pushed thru, it can be tied in a granny knot. The knot on this fish was tied so the points of the knot faced down toward the fishes body. After awhile the plastic gets hard from being in the water I assume, And the points of the knot become two Hyperdermic needles and continue to poke the fishes body in the general area of the tag. Thus giving bacteria a place to get into the wound because of the two needles relentless poking. You had to see the huge sore on this fish.

I took pictures of this wound and the damage caused to this fish, Then I called the Highland litorral society and told them of my catch and what I had saw and also had Very graphic photos of it. Also that I wanted to send them the photos to help them find a better way to do the tagging, That would be less harmful to fish in the future.

This was there reply to me. They were not interested in the photos, All they wanted me to do was send them the tag, Along with all the measurements and info as to where I had caught the fish. They were very blatant about this. I let them know what I thought of there program And there attitude toward me.

I have yet to send them anything, Nor do I intend too.

The one thing I did do was kill the fish and put it out of its misery.

No I did not eat it either as it was full of infection. This fish died for no good reason !.

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Rutgers has a tagging program with Stripers and are going to or have started with weakfish. It is an internal tag. They also have a dozen marker buoy in the Great Bay/ Mullica River area that reports every time the fish is in range. I recently found out about the study, so I don"™t know much more about it. I hope they will find trends in movements for that area.

Good Idea, but most likely to many uncontrollable variables and too small a sample size.

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View PostRutgers has a tagging program with Stripers and are going to or have started with weakfish. It is an internal tag. They also have a dozen marker buoy in the Great Bay/ Mullica River area that reports every time the fish is in range. I recently found out about the study, so I don"™t know much more about it. I hope they will find trends in movements for that area.

Good Idea, but most likely to many uncontrollable variables and too small a sample size.

 

It's a real good program. Google them up...they have some real interesting data on just how far stripers migrate up and down the coast. The data is also used to figure out mixing between Hudsun river stock, the Chesapeake bay stock, and the local stocks in small rivers up and down the east coast.

 

Tagging is one of the best ways to figure out things about fish. Tagging for stripers can be used to estimate natural mortality, growth, movement, fishing mortality...etc.

 

Does tagging kill fish???...you bet. Tagging mortality is part of the project and built in to the analysis. Does that tagging mortality over the year even compare to mortality the stock sees as a result of a good summer weekend of fishing?....what dies as a result of C&R and what goes on the grill?...I'd highly doubt it.

 

And it's pretty much the reason why we are still at 2 @28" with the regs. The tagging data differed from the population model, so managers used that to suggest they didn't need to make cuts in the stock just yet.

 

So you get a lot of important info, some tagged fish die through the year, more die as a result of a nice weekend of fishing, and the info has been used to keep our limits about the same.

 

Seems like a good trade for a small number of dead fish...huh? wink.gif

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I am all for tagging when there is a purpose to the tagging and the tagging is done by trained individuals. I tagged roughly 1500 stripers and there were plenty of recaptures of those fish from Maine to the Carolinas. I am no longer associated with fisheries work, but I would love to see the tag data from 8-9 years ago now, as I am sure there have been plenty of recaps since the original tags were put out.

 

A lot of the fish that were tagged were recaptured around the same area throughout the season - this does not mean they stayed around the river itself, as they could have traveled northward and then back down again, but it also could point to them sticking around the general area and that is why some of them were caught over the next several months in the same general vincinty. Another thing that I found interesting was that most anglers that reported estimated lengths were pretty good at it, although that data is not used as it cannot be relied upon. I did have the data accurate to the millimeter, so I could compare the fish that were quickly recaptured that had length data with the real length of the fish. If anything, when people estimated they came in on the small side in probably 70% of the time, so not all fishermen exaggerate....

 

The newer tagging studies where they are able to track the actual movements of the fish - like the Rutgers study and another one that I believe was going on at UMASS Amherst on the North Shore area have the potential to show some interesting things regarding movement. Problem is, these tags and the ability to monitor them are expensive.

 

To give you an example of tagging that is very useful in my opinion - is the tagging of Atlantic salmon with the same type of tags that people implant into their dogs to identify them. They are called PIT tags and they are inserted into the salmon parr. When the salmon parr turn into smolts and begin their trip to the ocean in the spring - antennas can be set up in the headwater streams to identify when individual fish actually migrate by the antennas. Antenna arrays can be set up at different points along the route to get some info on movement and timing, and perhaps relate that to fish of a particular drainage. You can also compare that with flows from gauging stations or temp loggers to try and get a better understanding of their movements.

 

To get back to the stripers - there are different manufacturers of tags, and different tag types. A tag that you cannot read after being exposed to the environment for a while does no good. The tags that the USFWS used would occasionally be hard to read the streamer portion of the tag, but the base of the tag that is inserted into the fish also contains the same information, and that is not exposed to the same conditions as the external portion of the tag. The ALS tag is like the external portion of the tag used by the USFWS, but it is inserted by punching a hole in the muscle of the fish behind the dorsal fin. The tag is fed through the hole and tied in a simple overhand knot. You can see where this loop would be prone to collecting organic material - especially at the knot. I have seen a few of these tags that were very hard to read. If the fish was undersized and you could not read it easily, then you release the fish knowing that you caught a tagged fish, but nothing about the individual. As the fish swims - it is my contention that this tag moves up and down and this can make that area look pretty bad and raw, You get a lot of gunk on a tag attached to a small fish and you have to be impacting its ability to swim to some degree, and you may be further increasing the mortality of the fish due to the tagging over other tag types.

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It is clear that this topic raises a lot of strong emotions with many sportsmen. Many individuals with these feelings tend to have a strong reverence for the fish species in question. And therein lies the problem. A good scientist/biologist will not make management decisions based SOLELY upon emotion. We MUST rely upon the best available science of the time as set forth by the science community at large.

 

Clam C - It's easy to understand why the ALS did not want the pictures you have. They KNOW what tags can do to fish bodies. It is cold, but they are only interested in the data.

 

On a separate, but related note related to striped bass & re-capture. I have seen some of the Rutgers data collected from 2006 and it points to some very interesting behavioral patterns. Some of the data suggests that fish will set up in a given area, remain there for extended periods, and move off & return daily (believed to be feeding behavior). Also, I just read a journal article in an AFS publication (American Fisheries Society) that documented dispersal of post-tourney caught striped bass. The data from that study suggested that a very high % (above 70% I believe, but prob higher) of fish caught, and released at post-weigh in sites) actually returned to the near exact spot of capture up to 48-76 hours later. If anyone is interested I will cite the article but it was really fascinating. Now this occurred in freshwater probably and somewhere off in like Arkansas or something but a fish is a fish is a fish.

 

How does this relate to our current conversation? It merely reinforces what labrax posted

 

View Post

A lot of the fish that were tagged were recaptured around the same area throughout the season - this does not mean they stayed around the river itself, as they could have traveled northward and then back down again, but it also could point to them sticking around the general area and that is why some of them were caught over the next several months in the same general vincinty.

 

 

 

I also want to comment on Tagger's post:

 

View Post I later learned less than 1 % are ever recovered. You want to think the information is used to save the fish but I believe its used more to target them .

 

Tagger, the reason for low recovery rates are for reasons (in very small part) exactly stated by Clam Chucker...he simply didn't want to. You must also look at the survivability of striped bass as a whole. I do not know specific survivability numbers for striped bass year to year but it's no a known fact that these numbers increase significantly year to year. That's why we target a specific age class to keep within the population. (Higher fecundity rate/survivability). So now I ask myself, how many fish have been tagged? How many returned? What percentage is this? How many tags are never turned in? How many of these fish fall to predation... . The list goes on.

 

Tagger, in your opinion, how is tagging information used to "target" fish species? Would you mind elaborating on this thought?

 

As for me I will continue to tag fish in my work studies and i will definitely return a tag should I ever extract one from a fish I end up keeping. I do not think I will tag stripers. It's kinda like bringing work home with me....biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

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I'm surprized at the number of people in this forum that are seemingly against the practice of "tag and release."

 

Granted, that picture of the botched striper tagging illustrates the wrong way of doing it. There are fish that I've tagged and gotten return data on that were perfectly healthy upon their recapture.

 

There is obviously a very low percent of recaptures, but this type of reseach relies on cumulative data. At some point, this reseach happening now could directly effect fisheries management in the future.

 

Think about act of catching a fish on a 8 inch plug, with 3 chemically sharpened hooks hanging off it, one puncturing its eye and another two jammed into its gills, it gets its picture taken and gets thrown back. "Oh, see, that's a part of fishing." Ok fine... it is. How is sticking a fish with a two and a half inch diameter, 3/16 inch thick loop of plastic research equipment any worse than the act of catch and release.

 

A large percentage of the time, I believe tagging can't do any more damage to the animal than the act of catching them in the first place.

 

I just don't understand the double standard that a lot of people have with the act of "fishing" versus the act of "fishing and tagging." It's rediculious.

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TinSquid,

 

No double standard at all- at least in my mind. How's this, you just received a package of tags, a pamphlet describing the process and you are gung ho to tag some fish. So since you are collecting the fish by fishing - you are out there plugging away on your favorite beach. You are fortunate to catch a fish and want to tag it. Where are you going to do it - well I'll just drag the fish up onto the sand, then rummage around for the tagging stuff, try to corral the flopping fish while I get out that pamphlet to just double check the location, damn fish won't stay still - ok, now I got it punch hole in side of fish, feed tag through, gee this cold May water makes it hard to tie a knot in the tag, ok where is my knife want to trim the tag end, - ok, tag trimmed there you go little buddy - back into the water.

 

Now contrast that with a researcher/technician on a boat with a tagging board, all the supplies laid out, other information such as accurate weight and length being taken, maybe a scale sample, etc or stomach sample taken using a gastric lavage procedure. Who do you think is going to do a faster job and get the fish back into the water faster where it has a better chance of survival. Do you think that the data collected by the researcher or technician has the potential to be better data - I do.

 

My objection to tagging is having people who do not do it enough to become good at it tagging fish. I also object to anglers kicking fish back into the water or flipping the fish in somersaults putting them back into the water. Doesn't mean that I believe all tagging or all fishing should be stopped just because of either case.

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View PostTinSquid,

 

No double standard at all- at least in my mind. How's this, you just received a package of tags, a pamphlet describing the process and you are gung ho to tag some fish. So since you are collecting the fish by fishing - you are out there plugging away on your favorite beach. You are fortunate to catch a fish and want to tag it. Where are you going to do it - well I'll just drag the fish up onto the sand, then rummage around for the tagging stuff, try to corral the flopping fish while I get out that pamphlet to just double check the location, damn fish won't stay still - ok, now I got it punch hole in side of fish, feed tag through, gee this cold May water makes it hard to tie a knot in the tag, ok where is my knife want to trim the tag end, - ok, tag trimmed there you go little buddy - back into the water.

 

 

You are describing the gentleman in the picture with the 15 inch striper with bloody foam dripping from its gills... I agree with you, that is very much the wrong way of doing it.

 

I have a tagging board, a wet hankie for their eyes and a needle/tag on my hat ready to go when I'm casting around the beach... you have to, or else you're doing it wrong (IMHO).

 

Now the only reason that I made a board and have tags ready is because I've worked on those tagging boats that you've described. I would probably not have even thought to tag fish if I didn't have that job first.

 

It's obvious that people buy tags because "they want to help"... but the crappy illustration and some short hand instructions doesn't convay what a tagger should really be doing with the fish. I had never seen those directions before I decided to get some tags for myself... I almost laughed they were so bad. That's a problem for sure.

 

Those directions should probably include "how to build a tag board" and instill in the angler that you should assume that you will catch a taggable fish on the first cast... That's the way you tag.

 

So, how DO you get past the learning stage of tagging..?

 

One might try to take a trip on a boat that does it, or go with someone that does it from the beach... or call the tagging agency for better instructions and detailed pictures of it being done correctly. A short instructional movie on the tagging agencies website would probably work wonders, I actually quite like that idea.

 

It's either don't let the recreational fishing community tag and leave it to the reasearchers..

 

or

 

Inform the rec fishing people better, make an effort to truely set them up for what they are about to do and not lose thousands of tagging oportunities every year along the eastern seaboard.

 

I agree with you Labrax, if someone genuinely doesn't know what to do, they probably shouldn't be doing it... that's why I stay away from accounting and rugby.

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