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1,000 tags reveal mysteries of giant bluefin tuna
Date:10/29/2008

A giant Atlantic bluefin tuna weighing more than half a ton had the honor of being fitted with the 1000th electronic tracking tag placed on this threatened species when it was caught and released on Monday (October 20) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Port Hood, Nova Scotia.

The prized fish, which measured 10 feet in length, was tagged by a scientific team from the Tag-A-Giant (TAG; www.tagagiant.org) campaign of Stanford University, Dalhousie University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, working in collaboration with Canadian fishermen from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The field team was led by Drs. Mike Stokesbury of Dalhousie University and Steve Wilson of Stanford University.

The TAG team has been tagging bluefin tuna since 1996, when the first tag was put out on a bluefin tuna off North Carolina's Outer Banks. Led by Stanford University professor Barbara Block, the team has traveled from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico and from Ireland to Spain to tag Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Placing 1,000 tags on giant bluefin has been a long quest for TAG researchers, whose work has helped to reveal the life histories of these amazing, elusive creatures at a time when their commercial value is soaring and their population has declined to a fraction of its historic levels prompting calls for a moratorium on the commercial fishery so the Atlantic giants can recover.

The tagging data assembled by the TAG researchers have been vital in identifying how populations of bluefin tuna use the North Atlantic, leading to new discoveries about their physiology, their migratory patterns and their population structure.

Electronic tagging is a carefully orchestrated process, refined through years of experience in the field and in the Tuna Research and Conservation Center in Pacific Grove, California, which is operated jointly by Stanford University and the Mon
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Contact: Randy Kochevar
rkochevar@hotmail.com
831-236-0728
Tag-A-Giant Foundation (The Ocean Foundation)
Source:Eurekalert  

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