I know some of you have come across a fish with a weird looking piece of plastic attached to its scale, (sort of looks like those little pieces of plastic we use to close bread bags.) Why is that fish tagged? What’s the point? Can I keep a tagged fish? Continue reading to find out!
My Experience With The Tagging Program
Since 1991, the Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has been awarded grants to participate in the State, and Federal Coast Wide Tagging Study. The findings of this study provide data on mortality rates, and coast wide migration of striped bass tagged in Massachusetts. Over 10,000 striped bass have been tagged in this ongoing study.
Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to assist DMF with this program. The grant allows fishermen to transport a group of DMF agents to tag fish in certain areas of Massachusetts. It’s a win-win situation for me. Essentially, I get to do all the fishing, and the DMF agents tag my catch!
Let’s break down the tagging process.
Once a fish comes on board, it is measured and tagged with a pink internal-anchor tag that has a sequential tag number with a toll-free phone line printed on it.
They also take a scale sample and then quickly release the fish.
What To Do If You Catch A Tagged Striper
The scale sample is then sent back to the DMF growth laboratory to be analyzed to estimate age, composition of catch, and rates of growth. Pretty neat stuff huh?
Most anglers are often unsure how to handle a tagged striped bass on the line. What you do is entirely up to you, (i.e. to keep or not to keep, that is the question.)
If you want to help the Massachusetts State, and Federal Coast Wide Tagging Study, please follow DMF protocol for catching a tagged striped bass. Any information would be extremely helpful in the terms of this study.
Did I mention you receive a reward for notifying DMF? Incentive! Fish On!
Here is what you should do if you catch a tagged striper:
Releasing the tagged fish is extremely helpful!
Releasing tagged fish allows for recapture data, and paints a much better picture of the striped bass' migratory patterns.
PS - I would like to "dedicate" this article to my amazing editor, Ashley Gincauskis. Without her grammatical guidance, I would be lost at sea.
You can also check out my tagging report from the 2017 season, when we caught and tagged 76 stripers, by clicking the post below.
What do you think?
Let me know by commenting below.
Ryan Franklin lives on Cape Cod and has been a member of MFCC since May of 2013. During the summer Ryan fishes the beach at night for sharks. He also pursues striped bass and bluefish from shore, and enjoys freshwater fishing in the winter, spring and fall.