Tag-A-Giant Releases Foundation Results of 2011 Atlantic Bluefin Tagging Campaign

Tag-A-Giant Satellite Tagging Update

Gulf of St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia, Canada:  September 2011 – December 2011

* Funding for this research was provided in part by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Atlantic and Pacific bluefin tuna are quickly disappearing due to high demand for sushi. Due to the very real possibility of Atlantic bluefin becoming commercially extinct, a dedicated group of scientists and recreational fishermen founded Tag-A-Giant (TAG) in 2006. Their mission: to support scientific research, policy and conservation initiatives that promote a sustainable future for bluefin tuna.

Since 1994, the Tag-A-Giant research program of Stanford University has been building the necessary knowledge to maintain bluefin tuna in captivity and sustain healthy populations of wild fish. The team has pioneered electronic tagging of marine fish species across the globe. TAG scientists have tagged nearly 1,800 northern bluefin tuna in both ocean basins, allowing them to follow the bluefins’ wide-ranging journeys across the oceans.

This fall marked Tag-A-Giant’s sixth tagging season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (GSL).  Due to the need to track fish to the Gulf of Mexico spawning ground to assess distribution and behavior in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it was also the most important.  And with forty-three giant bluefin tuna tagged, we’re thrilled to report that the 2011 tagging campaign in Canada was also our most successful. A few of the tags have reported early, but the majority of tags are on schedule.

Deployment Summary:

  • 20 Atlantic bluefin tuna were released with mini-PAT tags
  • 11 Atlantic bluefin tuna were released with MK10-PAT tags
  • 6 of these fish were double-tagged with MK10-PAT and mini-PAT tags
  • 21 Atlantic bluefin tuna were released with Vemco V16 acoustic tags
  • Tagged fish ranged in size from 175-299 cm CFL
  • DNA samples were taken from all tagged fish, and DNA were taken opportunistically at the docks from fish landed by commercial fishermen.
  • The tagging was conducted during 18.5 fishing days between 23 September and 2 November 2011.
  • 2 to 6 vessels fished per day, with one of the vessels serving as the tagging vessel, and the others transferring fish to the tagging vessel.

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