Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Coal Mines

Fishing has moved a little North but it hasn't slowed down...the tag team tagged six fish on eight bites. The fish are ranging from 400 to 800 lbs and we are putting on a variety of different electronic tags.




Friday, October 24, 2014

The Carrie Anne Show

We only had a half day but by the time we were back to the dock...five fish had electronic tags...and the F/V Carrie Anne passed off four of them. Captain Steve MacInnis started the day off with three fish in a row...he would pass us a fish and by the time we finished fighting and tagging the bluefin...he was hooked up again.

Captain Steve MacInnis passes off another bluefin

Not to be out done...the F/V Nicole Brandy passed us two fish in a row...the tagged fish was a beautiful 800 pounder.

Bluefin getting spun around before going out the door

Before we could set up to fish ourselves...the Carrie Anne had a double hook up. One of the fish got a tag and the other pulled the hook...but the excitement continued aboard the Carrie Anne as another bluefin tuna bit the hook right as the next bait hit the water.

Tag team takes a selfie while Lloyd reels in another fish


Monday, October 20, 2014

Four more on the board

We had another great day on the water...we met the F/V Carrie Anne and F/V Nicole Brandy from Arisaig right off Port Hood early Sunday morning. Before we even had our bait, Captain Steve MacInnis aboard the Carrie Anne was hooked up. The fish was tagged and released and our busy day on the water continued with two consecutive fish from Captain Bernie Chisholm on the Nicole Brandy. We finally got our hooks in the water after lunch...and once again, while the sun was setting we hooked into a nice 700 lber.

We didn't make it out today, but we are hoping to get back on the water tomorrow and Wednesday.

Dr. Steve Wilson release a bluefin tuna with the Bay Queen IV crew
Captain Bernie and his son Kenny prepare to pass us a fish
Waiting for the bite



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Canada 2014

The 2014 Canadian tagging season has begun with two fish tagged and released. We had a beautiful day on the water and we will be at it again tomorrow.


Llyod McInnis fishing a bluefin
Sunset while heading back to the dock in Port Hood.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Morocco Trap Tagging

Divers pick out individual fish to be tagged from the holding pen at the end of the trap system.
Divers guide a bluefin tuna into the supersized sling.
A bluefin tuna is lifted out of the holding pen by crane.
The bluefin being measured.
Scientist Noureddine Abid from INRH puts a piece of bluefin DNA into a vial.
TAG Scientists Robbie Schallert, Pablo Cermeno, and Barbara Block. traveled to Morocco in May to work with scientists from the Moroccan National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH) and the tuna trap "Es-Sahel" (Larache, Morocco), owned by Société Maromadraba. The objective was to gain more insight into the migratory patterns of large bluefin tuna in the North Atlantic. These particular fish arrive annually in the Spring on their way to spawn inside the Mediterranean. And the traps, as described by Dr. George Shillinger (Moroccan Traps), catch some of the bluefin on their journey...this provides scientists with a fantastic opportunity to tag and release many "giants" quickly and easily. This is the third year our TAG team has been to the traps as part of our our collaborative work with ICCAT and WWF to place Wildlife Computers' mini-PAT tags on the 300-500 lb fish.

Dr. Block carefully inserts a satellite tag before the fish is released outside of the trap.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Canada 2013: Epic Tagging


Dr. Steve Wilson and Robbie Schallert tag a giant bluefin
in Port Hood, Nova Scotia

The TAG team is up in Canada where we’ve had an epic 5 days of nonstop bluefin tagging.  I’m Ethan Estess from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Stanford University’s Tuna Research and Conservation Center, here with TAG scientists Robbie Schallert and Dr. Steve Wilson of Stanford University. We came to Port Hood, Nova Scotia on September 27th to work with Mike Stokesbury’s team from Acadia University to study giant bluefin in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. 

TAG team Dr. Steve Wilson, Robbie Schallert (center), and Cpt. Dennis Cameron (at head irrigating the gills)

We awoke on the 28th to flat calm seas and sunny skies. The Tag-A-Giant team headed out with Captain Dennis Cameron and Craig of the Bay Queen IV and Bernie and Steve of the Carrie Anne.  The bait had barely hit the water when we hooked up on a giant bluefin tuna.  An hour later the 270cm fish was on the tagging mat and a minute later it was back out the door, outfitted with an acoustic and pop-up archival tag (PAT).  These tags will help unlock the mysteries of bluefin migratory patterns and spawning cycles, providing critical information for their management and conservation.   To date most of these Canadian giants have been tracked to the Gulf of Mexico spawning grounds, but a few (less then 2%) make their way to the Mediterranean Sea.

A giant bluefin being reeled in by the crew of the Bay Queen IV

The bluefin were there in force to feed on the large schools of herring in the region.  We double tagged 6 fish with acoustics and pop-ups, and many of these fish were the largest I've seen.  All of Sunday’s fish were over 260cm, easily weighing 800 pounds or more.  These fish were extremely well fed and very big around!

Measuring the length of a giant bluefin

Over the next 3 days we deployed 14 more electronic tags in perfect fishing conditions.  Cape Breton is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and we were surrounded by spectacular wildlife.  Hundreds of pilot whales, or “blackfish” as our captain called them, circled our boat throughout.  They were there for the same reason the bluefin were- to feed on the massive schools of herring spawning along the island.   Gannets dive-bombed and grey seals bobbed along with curious glances towards our bait.  One of the highlights of the trip was placing a tag in the largest giant bluefin TAG has ever tagged- a 313cm bluefin we tagged and released.  This behemoth barely fit on the deck of the Day Queen IV.  This fish is surely a spawner, and hopefully its PAT tag will teach us about bluefin spawning locations and behaviors in the Gulf of Mexico.

Surrounded by hungry pilot whales with our other fishing vessel
the Carrie Anne in the background

Cape Breton sunset