Advances in Fish Tagging and Marking Technology

How Advances in Tagging Technology Improved Progress in a New Science: Marine Stock Enhancement

Kenneth M. Leber and H. Lee Blankenship


Abstract.—In designing research programs, scientists may constrain development of sequential hypotheses because of perceptions about logistical constraints to using new technologies in monitoring or experimental design. Using trusted, familiar methods can supersede asking which hypotheses would have the greatest impact and what method(s) are required to test them. To help maintain a ‘problem-oriented’ approach, rather than a ‘methods oriented’ one, we could strive to remain aware of new innovations and applications in research; this is particularly so for tagging technology, when new methods emerge. Research enabled by recent innovations can be incorporated through collaborations with other scientists or by working directly with vendors to implement and refine new tag technologies and applications. Some tagging studies can be improved by using multiple marking methods (e.g. see recent applications of various tag technologies with common snook Centropomus undecimalis and red drum Sciaenops ocellatus in Florida to evaluate recruitment, mortality, and habitat use of different life stages; Adams et al. 2006; Bennett 2006; Marcinkiewicz, 2007; Brennan et al. 2008; Tringali et al. 2008). Here we consider a few case studies that have implemented a variety of tagging methods to explore poorly understood factors that mediate growth and survival and the effectiveness of hatchery releases to help replenish depleted marine fish stocks.