Newsroom
Midwest Region

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2011

CONTACTS
Charles Bronte, 920-866-1761
Katie Steiger-Meister, 612-713-5317

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mass Marking Season Begins in the Great Lakes


The second year of mass marking in the Great Lakes will begin March 15th. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office will travel to four states and eight state fish hatcheries to code-wire tag and fin-clip millions of Chinook salmon for stocking in the Great Lakes.

Mass marking of salmon and trout in the Great Lakes is a cooperative program among state and tribal resource management agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to improve sport fishery management and native species restoration.    Tagging millions of fish prior to stocking is made possible by the use of four automated tagging trailers, developed by Northwest Marine Technology, owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program. Each trailer is capable of marking up to 60,000 fish in a single eight-hour day amounting to an overall cost savings of 11 percent over manual marking methods. The automated trailer also provides better tag retention, more consistent tag placement, and easier tag recovery in the laboratory.

Fish tagged this year will be stocked into lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior to determine the levels of natural reproduction by Chinook salmon and the levels of exchange among lakes and political jurisdictions. This year’s salmon will start to enter the sport fishery in 2012.

“The common objective for the state and tribal partners is to tag all Chinook stocked into the Great Lakes, and use the information from tagged fish recovered from fisheries and agency assessments to improve fisheries management,” said Charles Bronte, fishery biologist and Service lead for mass marking implementation in the Great Lakes from the Green Bay National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. . The Service will also purchase tags for Lake Ontario, where New York State and the Province of Ontario have been tagging Chinook salmon 2008.

2011 Spring Mass Marking tentative schedule:

Wisconsin – Estimated to tag 1.2 million Chinook salmon Kettle Moraine State Fish Hatchery - April 1 - 7 Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery – April 1 - 10 Les Voight State Fish Hatchery – April 22-28

Indiana – Estimated to tag 222,000 Chinook salmon Misxawba State Fish Hatchery March 15- 24, April 1 -7

Michigan – Estimated to tag 3.4 million Chinook salmon Platte River State Fish Hatchery – April 12 – 21, April 26-28 Thompson State Fish Hatchery – April 12 - 20 Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery – March 15 – 24, April 1 - 7

Illinois – Estimate to tag 300,000 Chinook salmon Jake Wolf State Fish Hatchery – March 15-24
Beginning in August about 4.6 million lake trout at three federal hatcheries in Michigan and Wisconsin will also receive coded-wire tags and fin clips to study rates of natural reproduction, relative survival, and movement among various strains and other experimental groups.

More than 5.3 million fish were tagged in the 2010 inaugural mass marking season at both federal and state fish hatcheries including 4.7 million lake trout and 1.1 million Chinook salmon. This technique has been successfully used in the Northwest for marking hatchery-reared Pacific salmon, and is known as “mass-marking” since millions of fish are rapidly tagged and marked each year. For more information about the Service’s mass marking project, please visit www.fws.gov/midwest/massmarking2010.htm.

Funding for this project came in part from the President’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Through the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act grant program, $2.6 million in GLRI funds were used to purchase two automated coded-wire tagging trailers. Provisionally, $1.5 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding will be used to support tagging activities in 2011. For more information on the Service’s GLRI activities, please visit www.fws.gov/GLRI .

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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Last updated: November 4, 2013