Monday, July 20, 2009

Outstanding start to Pacific Bluefin trip

The Shogun has become a Research Vessel for the week as the Tuna Research and Conservation Center team of Stanford University and MBA are out with Captain Norm and the Shogun Crew for our annual bluefin tuna tagging and collecting trip. The trip is supported by our Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP) program (, a 10-year program focused on using electronic tagging technologies to document the movements and behaviors of marine predators in the North Pacific. The objective has been to advance electronic tagging technologies and scientific methods to meet the challenges of the 21st century for marine resource management and ocean modeling. To date the TOPP team has tagged 4000 fish, sharks, whales, squid, albatross and turtles. The second objective of the trip is to collect bluefin for our research center in Monterey, CA.

Today we got off to an outstanding start on our summer trip as we’ve located some bluefin of the perfect collectable size, about 12 lbs. We quickly placed 10 bluefin aboard the ship in two holds and began tagging with archival tags. This process is somewhat akin to throwing a laptop computer into the bluefin and returning the fish to the sea. This trip we’re carrying the Lotek 2310 archival tags that require surgical implantation and some brand new very advanced tags that we’re testing. The tags record light, temperature and pressure, they have a clock and the algorithms allow us to do position and discern the vertical and horizontal movements of the fish. It’s a great start to the trip to be close to home and have the perfect size fish in the wells for collection. We’ve had a super day with whales, dolphins, bluefin, albatross and terns.
The pictures show Luis Rodriguez and Dan Madigan removing the hook from a fish on a specially built swim step on the shogun for handling live fish. We had two bluefin tagging stations operating where Robbie Schallert and I tagged fish and at the second station we had Jake Noguiera and Alex Norton tagging and they are shown releasing a fish. Gen Del Ray and Dane Klinger assisted.

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