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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Great Lakes Fish Tag and Recovery Lab Begins 2013 Tagging Season

Region 3, March 28, 2013
Tagging schedule for Chinook salmon at state hatcheries in 2013.
Tagging schedule for Chinook salmon at state hatcheries in 2013. - Photo Credit: n/a
Code-wire tag in the snout of a young salmon.
Code-wire tag in the snout of a young salmon. - Photo Credit: n/a

Each year millions of salmon and trout are released by management agencies to enhance fishing opportunities and restore species. This contributes to a multi-billion dollar sport fishery that helps fuel the economy of the Great Lakes region. To help evaluate the ecological and economic return that these introductions provide, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service places a code-wire tag in the snout of millions of lake trout and Chinook salmon each year. These tiny tags have a coded number that identifies a particular group of fish that represent a stocking location and a particular strain or a hatchery where they were raised. When these fish are recovered by fishers and the returned data is analyzed, biologists can get a measure of the effectiveness of their stocking programs and progress toward restoration of native species such as lake trout.

Tagging of Chinook salmon raised in state hatcheries serving lakes Michigan, Superior, and Huron has already begun, and will take place from mid-March to mid-May at seven state hatcheries in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. A total of 2.6 million fish will be tagged and receive an adipose fin clip from computer-operated automated tagging trailers that can process over 7,000 fish per hour. Lake trout tagging at federal and state hatcheries will begin later in the year.

Contact Info: Charles Bronte, 920-866-1761, charles_bronte@fws.gov