The project aboard the RV Celtic Explorer will unravel migration data about Atlantic cod. (Photo: www.mi.mun.ca/FIS)
Atlantic cod tagging project takes off again
Friday, October 26, 2012, 02:20 (GMT + 9)
A CAD 50,000 (USD 50,393) investment under the Newfoundland and Labrador Government's Fisheries Research Grant Programme has enabled researchers at the Marine Institute's Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER) to continue a satellite-tagging project using Atlantic Cod.
Coordinated by Dr George Rose, the research will continue this fall in the Bonavista Corridor.
The goal is to better comprehend the movement patterns and stock structures of Atlantic cod.
"Dr Rose and his team of scientists at the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research have successfully developed a method to tag and track cod by satellite off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador," stated Derrick Dalley, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
"Due to the success of the project aboard the RV Celtic Explorer this year, our government is pleased to support this initiative for a second phase. The success of this experiment thus far and its potential to unravel some of the distribution and migration mysteries about Atlantic Cod is a sound investment in the future of our groundfish industry as it will contribute to improved management of the various cod stocks found off our coast," he added.
Called "X-tags," the satellite tags placed on the fish record latitude and longitude, depth and temperature data every hour for a year or more, then release themselves from the fish, floats to the surface and broadcast their data via satellite back to the research station. It takes up to 10 days for the X-Tags to transmit a year's worth of data.
Costing approximately CAD 4,000 (USD 4,031), each tag includes the data reception from the satellite and the initial processing.
"We don't know as much about cod behaviour as we should. If the satellite tagging of the cod works as well as we hope it does, we will get insight into cod behaviour in a way we never have before," explained Dr Sherrylynn Rowe, a research scientist with CFER.
Funding provided in 2010 was used to purchase 14 tags and to determine how they would be used. The project was completed during the RV Celtic Explorer survey in the spring of 2012.
The newer CAD 50,000 (USD 50,393) funding will pay for 10-12 more satellite tags and the data reception costs. Rose and his team will deploy the tags during the spring and summer of 2013 aboard the RV Celtic Explorer and the RV Gecho II.
"Satellite tags are a new type of technology that has become an invaluable tool for researchers in studying the behaviour and inshore/offshore migration patterns of fish species such as Atlantic cod," said Tom Brown, Administrative Director, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research. "We welcome the opportunity to expand our satellite tagging project allowing us to gather even more data about Atlantic cod and the ecosystem in which it lives."
By Natalia Real