Atlantic Salmon Tagging

From Shelley Dawicki at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Thirty of 150 Atlantic salmon smolts tagged by NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) in Maine's Penobscot River and released in Brewer, Maine in mid-May have crossed a line of underwater receivers off Halifax, Nova Scotia, the first fish to be tracked using the new global Ocean Tracking Network. The concept is similar to an EZ pass for highway toll booths, but for fish.

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The Greenland satellite tagging project is headed by Tim Sheehan and Mark Renkawitz at NOAA's Woods Hole Laboratory of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). The tags they are using are similar to those other NEFSC researchers have successfully deployed on sea turtles and other marine animals.

In September 2011, Renkawitz and colleagues attached tags to 17 salmon in Greenland's coastal waters; ten remain attached to the fish and are programmed to pop-off on April 1, 2012. April 1 is a predetermined pop-off date as the tag detachment apparatus is dependent on being in saltwater and there is a very low likelihood that any tagged fish will have entered their natal river by this time. Once at the ocean surface, tags transmit the data recorded since installation.


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