Electronic Tagging and Tracking in Marine Fisheries

Volume 1 of the series Reviews: Methods and Technologies in Fish Biology and Fisheries pp 7-64

Electronic Tags in Marine Fisheries Research: A 30-Year Perspective

  • Geoff ArnoldAffiliated withThe Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft Laboratory
  • , Heidi DewarAffiliated withPfleger Institute of Environmental Research

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Remote sensing technologies have been used to study the behaviour and movements of fish in the sea for about 30 years. The first relatively simple devices have given rise to a suite of sophisticated tools that have spawned a whole new field of fisheries science. The oldest method, acoustic telemetry, has now advanced to the level at which we can study detailed behaviour in the field in relation to the immediate environment, and monitor physiological variables, as well as document larger-scale movement patterns. Archival tags, available for the last 7–8 years, provide a powerful tool to obtain detailed information on a range of variables for large number of individual fish over long periods of time. Their primary limitation is that they must be recovered to obtain the data. The most recent development, the pop-up satellite tag, requires no recovery and can thus be used on any fish of sufficient size. Being fully independent of the fisheries, this type of tag is ideal for studying large, highly migratory fish and dramatically expands the scope of questions that can be addressed. The pace of technical development will undoubtedly continue to accelerate over the next few decades, producing new tools that can be expected to solve many currently unanswered questions in fisheries biology. Solutions to these questions should help to achieve improved management of the seas and their living resources.

Key words

acoustic telemetry archival tags satellite telemetry fisheries