Friday, October 26, 2007
Oh Canada! Thanks for Getting the Giant Bluefin Tagged
Canadian tagging continued in the past two days with super fall weather, calm seas and more success tagging giant bluefin. The Canadian fleet of "TAG" vessels working off Port Hood with Dalhousie Scientists, Dr. Mike Stokebury and Aaron Spares continued tagging with Captain Dennis Cameron and mate Sheldon Gillis of Port Hood, along with vessels specifically working for the TAG team from PEI and New Brunswick. In the past two days 4 more giants were captured brought on board the designated surgery vessel measured, and released successfully with Wildlife Computers Pop up satellite archival tags. The largest fish in the past few days was a butterball of a bluefin- measuring 292 cm CFl and had a half girth of 111 cm. That is one fat fish. The TAG A Giant team has completed the mission- and together we've tagged 15 Giants and 4 have double tags (second short term pop up or an archival). We're very enthusiastic about this effort and look forward to reporting the results.
The Cooperation of the local vessels in the region has been fantastic. Everyone mastered catching, transferring and releasing fish "TAG style" quickly. We have made new friends in this spectacular Cape Breton region and the memories will last a long time. The long term pop up satellite tags are set for 240, 270 and 300 days- and hopefully they will remain on the fish. The major objective is to learn when and if these giants are moving into the Gulf of Mexico for breeding. The tagging effort will be augmented with genetic efforts to identify these fish.
The pictures here show Dr. Mike Stokesbury working with a giant tuna, Bruce Kues of PEI catching a giant- and Steve McGinnis- who captured the last fish today- for the tag team.
Thanks to everyone in the region for making the TAG effort for bluefin successful! These are the largest Giants ever tagged anywhere on the Globe- Thank you Canada.
Yours truly, Dr. Barbara Block, Stanford University