Virginia Institute of Marine Science Striped Bass Tagging Project

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As of January 19, 2008, Virginia Institute of Marine Science will be deploying special electronic tags in large striped bass. The tags will be taking temperature, depth, and light level measurements every four and a half minutes. The stored data is then transmitted to a satellite by the tag after it surfaces. This particular study is mostly looking at hook and release mortality, not long term movements, so the tags will be programmed to release after 30 days. During this time a lot of detail will be collected about the short term movement of these fish.

Anglers that catch one of these fish with the tag intact are encouraged to release it and report the event. Anglers that do keep the fish, are asked to return the tag. After the tags pop off, they are going to be floating around out there.

Virginia Institute of Marine Science is offering a $100 reward for any recovered tags as the tags can be rebuilt for a fraction if the cost of a new tag. Also, data transmission to a satellite is not 100 percent. Maybe sixty percent of the data will be recovered through the satellite but if the tag is in hand, one hundred percent of the data can be recovered.

Virginia Institute of Marine Science personnel will be tagging these fish in Virginia waters and with the short soak times, fish are not expected to travel far but could show up in North Carolina or Maryland waters. Anglers are encouraged to be watchful for these tags.

In a similar Virginia Institute of Marine Science study on white marlin, some surprises were found about where they spend the majority of their day and how deep they actually go. The white marlin study also found a big difference in survival between fish caught on circle hooks (58 of 59 survived; <2% post-release mortality) as compared to J-hooks (13 of 20 survived; 35% post-release mortality).

For more info or to report a tag recovery, contact:
John Graves
Professor of Marine Science
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
College of William and Mary
P.O. Box 1346 (mail);
Route 1208 Greate Road (FedEx, UPS)
Gloucester Point, VA 23062
804 684-7352 (office); -7258 (lab); -7157 (fax)

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