Monday, May 21, 2007

Tagging in the Gulf of Mexico

It's presently the bluefin spawning season in the Gulf of Mexico spawning grounds, and TAG is hoping to get some satellite tags onto a few fish. Our collaborators at NOAA Fisheries in Pascagoula, Mississippi are heading to sea to conduct a bycatch mitigation study, during which they will likely be catching both yellowfin and bluefin tuna. Last week we sent them a care package of 12 satellite tags and all the gear they need to tag some tuna. Andre Boustany then had a conference call with the research vessel’s captain and four of their scientists to instruct them in tagging technique. Andre had earlier sent them some video of previous tagging trips, to help with the lesson.

The NOAA vessel was scheduled to sail this past weekend, with Dan Foster taking charge of the satellite tagging operation. Hopefully they will be able to get 6 tags on yellowfin and 6 on bluefin, although we’ll be happy with whatever they can manage. From what we hear, their days at sea are long and tiring, so they put in to port every 2-3 days. Next time they’re back in we should get an update from Dan as to how the tagging is going. Good luck guys!

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