Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All Canada Team Tags 4 More Giants

We're pleased to report our all Canada TAG team led by Dr. Mike Stokesbury today

tagged 4 more giant bluefin with a small fleet of TAG boats from Nova Scotia and PEI. The team reports the fish were in the 800 to 900# class. While I am back in my laboratory at Stanford- I am still thinking about the fishing and the giants. It was an awesome place- and considering we were only there a week- its an amazing story to be able to tag such large giant bluefin. Cape Breton was spectacular as a venue and our TAG Surgery vessel Captain Mr. Dennis Cammeron and mate Sheldon Gillis were remarkable people. Our techniques that we've been using- work well- the lip hooks are specially designed titanium hooks that the folks who've done this the most (Andre and Mike) put in the fish at the edge of the lower jaw. We than use as many folks as necessary to pull the fish on the boat- the use of the vinyl slippery mat makes the fish- easy up relatively easy. We irrigate the bluefin on deck- and we see them absolutely enjoy the flow of seawater sucking oxygen as we tag them- you can watch as the opercle flaps

actually move. Than we place the tag in the dorsal side- or sew in an archival- and within 3' we're spinning hte fish around with the mat- and shooting the fish out the door. They kick hard as they say good bye to the

tag team. Currently all the fish are in the 275 to 305 cm class (curved length). The tags all carry a mortality program and thus far we're pleased to say- all systems are go- these fish are surviving just fine. The first fish carried a double mortality tag program- two tags to be sure on survivorship- one short term that popped up and showed the fish making regular dives just after release from the surface to about 50 m depth. This fish's tag popped up some 27 nm from the tagging location and headed to the north.

I've put up a photo of last weeks operations- hopefully with some good weather the TAG team will get all the allocated tags in the ocean and we'll get a better handle on foraging behavior, migrations and spawning location for these Canadian giants.

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