"The longer the tagged fish remain at sea the more data will be collected, so we hope tagged fish will be returned to us over the next several years," Richards said. "We need the whole fish with its tags, and details about where and when it was caught, in order to get the most information we can from each fish." The reward is $500 if these conditions are met.
Working with Crista Bank of New Bedford, Mass., a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth's School for Marine Science and Technology, the team has already tagged 150 monkfish and hopes to have the rest of the 190 available archival tags on fish in the near future.
The electronic tags, about the diameter of a AAA battery but half as long, are surgically implanted under the skin and record water temperature, depth and time every 10 minutes. The tags can record data for four to five years, and will work in water depths up to 2,000 meters (about 6,500 feet). A pair of conventional plastic t-bar tags, like those used to attach the price tags on clothing, are also attached externally around the monkfish's tail and carry instructions on how to report a tagged monkfish.
"We try to minimize the time the fish is on deck, so the tagging process only takes about five minutes," said Larry Alade, a fisheries biologist at NEFSC. "We tag fish that are about 16 to 20 inches long, or roughly four to five years old and most likely mature. On our last trip we tagged 54 monkfish, some of which were up to 28 inches long. "
Data recovered from the tags can help researchers learn more about how migration patterns differ between males and females and with maturity sta
|Contact: Shelley Dawicki|
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center