Advances in Fish Tagging and Marking Technology

Foreword to Chemical and Biological Markers Section

R. Keller Kopf


Although chemical and biological marking techniques have been in use for over 30 years, recent advances in molecular science and mass spectrometry technology now facilitates their routine application by fisheries scientists and biologists. An exponential rise in peer-reviewed publications using these methods shows the ubiquity with which this technology has been adopted and suggests a productive future (Figure 1). Growth in this area of research has focused largely on otolith chemistry, genetic markers, and mass chemical marking of calcified structures.

Today, researchers use otolith chemistry, DNA sequencing, stable isotope or fatty acid analyses, artificial mass marking, parasite diversity or other unique ‘signatures’ to answer a variety of questions about the life history of fish and the environments they inhabit. These techniques have been instrumental to answering questions about stock discrimination, population origin, habitat use, dispersal and migration, age and growth, trophic status and ecotoxicology. Manuscripts published in these proceedings use artificial marks and natural signatures to retrace the life history of Eastern Australian salmon Arripis trutta, spotted chub mackerel Scomber australasicus, European eel Anguilla anguilla and golden perch Macquaria ambigua.