Wednesday, October 21, 2009

LPRC Research Cruise Bluefin tuna tagging, Nova Scotia, Canada 08-12 October, 2009

Bluefin tuna fishing in Canada has been great in the last few years. Canadian fishermen from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are reporting large numbers of bluefin giants swimming near coastal waters allowing a great opportunity for the LPRC to tag some of the fish that skip the Gulf of Maine during their migration.
So, on a stormy day I found myself on a ferry on the way to Nova Scotia to meet some hard-core bluefin fishermen and LPRC collaborators, on a mission to tag these giants.
As soon as I landed in Yarmouth harbor the Jacquards, Erik and Joel, along with Floy picked me up and we drove strait to Port Mouton to join Chris Malone on his boat, the F/V Rumbunkshus. We steamed north along the coast and by 21:05 we had our first hook in the water. I had high hopes for this tagging trip, but what happened that night exceeded all of my expectations. The Canadian fishermen (and fish) lived up to their reputation, and five minutes after we started fishing, a fish was on! By sunrise we had tagged six giants, what a great night. We continued fishing for two more days, with a short break due to bad weather, and deployed all the tags I had brought with me (10). These tags are programmed to stay on the fish up to one year and record valuable information, including fish location and swimming patterns.
Tuna season is almost over in the Gulf of Maine and “laboratory time” is approaching. The long winter ahead will be used to analyze data of previously tagged fish as well as biological samples collected throughout the season.
Stay tuned for updates!
Gilad Heinisch

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