Cooperative Black Sea Bass Tagging Project
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September 2003 marked the first anniversary of the Black Sea Bass Tagging Project. The biologists involved took advantage of the off-season to discuss the methods used in the project, suggested improvements to the existing protocol and propose ideas for improving the quality of recapture data in the future. One of the most significant ideas suggested was the use of electronic data storage tags to help track the movements of the black sea bass as they move from their summer, coastal residence to their offshore, wintering grounds. The extent of their range of travel and depth is not well understood, so the ability to determine these components was deemed valuable to the program.
Data storage tags (DST, archival tags, "backpacks") come in a variety of sensor options. The fish montitoring tags chosen for this project are manufactured by Lotek* and have also been used in a NEFSC tagging program examining yellowtail flounder (http://www.cooperative-tagging.org). Measuring temperature and pressure (depth) at regular intervals (15 seconds or greater), DSTs will add a third dimension to the data received from many of our recaptures. Data is constantly collected for up to 3 years and when compared to temperature and depth information gathered from NOAA surveys, winter residence locations should become apparent as well as offshore interactions among the various coastal stock components.
The range of release for the data storage tags is similar to that of the internal anchor tags (Cape Cod, MA to Cape Hatteras, NC). Deployment of these tags began in New England and progressed south as the fish began their subsequent offshore migrations at lower latitudes. Coastwide, 117 DSTs were released in 2003 and 45 were deployed in 2004; their recaptures and stored information are anxiously awaited by the projects biologists in Woods Hole, MA.
The following link uses QuickTime Player to view the attachment of a DST to a black sea bass. The QuickTime link will take you to the platform for downloading the player if you do not have it installed on your computer.
« DST tagging video
QuickTime link »
* Use of Lotek products and mention of the Lotek name does not imply company or product endorsement by NOAA Fisheries.
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