Saturday, October 25, 2008

Canada Hits 1000!

A giant Atlantic bluefin tuna weighing more than half a ton had the honor of being fitted with the 1000th electronic tracking tag placed by our team on an Atlantic bluefin when it was caught and released on Monday (October 20) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Port Hood, Nova Scotia. The prized fish, which measured 10 feet in length, was tagged by our scientific team from Stanford University, Dalhousie University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, working in collaboration with Canadian fishermen from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. The field team was led by Drs. Mike Stokesbury of Dalhousie University and Steve Wilson of Stanford University. Mr. Aaron Spares was also on board helping to tag and lip hook the fish. This is the 5th tag deployed this year from our Canadian squad who also succeeded in the past weeks putting out some acoustic and archival tagged giants. The tunas this week are getting only the Pop Up Satellite Archival tag- build by Wildlife Computers who have been large supporters of the TAG effort.

The TAG team has been tagging bluefin tuna since 1996, when the first tag was put out on a bluefin tuna off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We have traveled from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico and from Ireland, to Corsica and to Spain to tag Atlantic bluefin tuna. Placing 1,000 tags on giant bluefin has been a long quest for TAG researchers, whose work has helped to reveal the life histories of these amazing, elusive creatures. The tagging data assembled by the TAG researchers have been vital in identifying how populations of bluefin tuna use the North Atlantic, leading to new discoveries about their physiology, their migratory patterns and their population structure.

I would like to thank all those responsible for helping us to achieve the Herculean task of deploying 1,000 electronic tags on giant Atlantic bluefin tuna, with special recognition of our Gulf of St. Lawrence team who realized the goal: the captains and crew of the F/V Angel Brailyne, F/V Bay Queen IV, F/V Carrie Anne II, F/V Gail O’ Wind, F/V Neptuna, F/V Nicole Brandy, and F/V North Lake Breeze, together with scientists Dr. Michael Stokesbury, Dr. Steven Wilson, Robbie Schallert, Jake Noguiera and Aaron Spares. Special thanks for the support of Dr. John Nielson from Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Our gratitude to Captain Dennis Cameron for letting us use his vessel with a super fine door- for tagging. Funding was also from the TAG A Giant Foundation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation and NOAA. Congrads to our entire team. Go TEAM CANADA!!!

No comments: