Author: Bullbuster Team
How Fish Tagging Data Is Actually Used:
Below is a list of ten ways that tagging information is used. If you want to learn more about about fish tagging in general check out our article (Everything You Need To Know About Fish Tagging). If you need to know what tagging programs exist in your area, check out our article (100 Fish Tagging Programs You Can Get Involved With).
1) Learn How Fast Fish Grow - Scientists can use tag data from fish that are re-captured to figure out how fast fish grow. Understanding how fish grow can gives scientists an understanding of the "Life History" of a fish, they can also use this information to understand the overall health of the local fish stock.
2) Learn How Many Fish There Are - By figuring out the "recapture rate" (the percent of fish actually caught again out of those that were actually tagged) scientists can estimate how many fish that there actually are in total.
3) Learn Where Fish Go - Perhaps the most known application of fish tagging is figuring out where fish go. This answers questions like (Does florida share the same Tarpon as Texas?) or how big of a space is needed to protect a grouper vs. a snapper?.
4) Learn What Water Temperatures Fish Prefer - More sophisticated satellite tags including (PSAT Tags) actually collect minute to minute data on water temperatures that fish are occupying. This information can be used to figure out where fish will go depending on different weather conditions.
5) Learn How Deep Fish Go - We all make assumptions about certain fish species & the habitat that we assume they prefer. Until the advent of daytime swordfishing, very few people knew that many fish go so deep during the day. Many unexpected fish have been caught in over 1500 feet of water including bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, hammerhead sharks, thresher sharks, etc. Tarpon researchers have witnessed multiple tagged tarpon dive in excess of 400 feet and up to 100 miles offshore (the current theory is that they use the water pressure to push their eggs out into the gulf stream).
6) Learn How Fish Behave Around Different Species - An interesting application of tag data, is to compare the information of tagged fish of several different species to eachother. An interesting study of this nature was done a few years ago comparing Bullshark and Tarpon behavior they find that Tarpon may actively avoid areas where Bullsharks tend to congregate.
7) Track Hurricanes - A University Of Miami Research Team found that Tarpon tag tracks can be used to help predict hurricane paths.
8) Figure Out The Survival Rates Of Catch & Release Fishing - We all know that some fish die in catch and release fishing, tagging data can help understand what percentage of fish die from catch and release and incorporate that into predictions of how many fish there actually are as it can mess with the "recapture rate" and falsely show that there are more fish than there actually are.
9) Figure Out How Fish React To Tides - Studies with "Acoustic Tags" inside and outside of inlets and rivers can show how fish behave depending on the tides.
10) Send us your suggestion for a study to Bullbustersocial@gmail.com - Get involved with some Citizen Science, and help marine biologists generate ideas on how to use ongoing studies to generate even more information.
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