, Volume 483, Issue 1–3, pp 287–292 | Cite as

Taking the bait: in situ voluntary ingestion of acoustic transmitters by Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)

  • Paul D. WingerEmail author
  • Barry R. McCallum
  • Stephen J. Walsh
  • Joseph A. Brown


Voluntary ingestion of acoustic transmitters by Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) was investigated under field conditions in the shallow inshore waters off Newfoundland. A surface-controlled tagging frame was used to suspend and monitor baited transmitters (16×45 mm up to 16×108 mm) near the seafloor at depths ranging from 12.5 to 39.0 m. The behaviour of cod toward the transmitters was quantified using an underwater video camera. Cod ranging in size from 11 to 92 cm approached and touched the transmitters. Both biting and ingestion were size-dependent. Eight successful taggings were completed with cod ranging in size from 34 to 92 cm. Transmitters deployed in the morning were consumed faster (mean soak time = 3.3 h) than transmitters deployed in the afternoon (mean soak time = 9.1 h). Tracking revealed that cod were active immediately following tagging, suggesting no effect of the tagging procedure. Individual fish were tracked for periods ranging from 5.6 to 18.8 d, with none of the fish regurgitating transmitters during the period for which they were tracked.

telemetry in situ tagging voluntary ingestion bait consumption cod 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Armstrong, J. D., I. G. Priede & K. L. Smith Jr., 1991. Temporal change in foraging behaviour of the fish Coryphaenoides (Nematonurus) in the central North Pacific. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 76: 195-199.Google Scholar
  2. Bagley, P. M., A. Smith & I. G. Priede, 1994. Tracking movements of deep demersal fishes in the Porcupine Seabight, North-east Atlantic Ocean. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 74: 473-480.Google Scholar
  3. Barlow, G. W., 1968. Ethological units of behavior. In Ingle, D. (ed.), The Central Nervous System and Fish Behavior. University of Chicago Press, Chicago: 217-232.Google Scholar
  4. Bridger, C. J. & R. K. Booth, 2002. The effects of biotelemetry transmitter presence and attachment procedures on fish physiology and behaviour. Rev. Fish. Sci., in press.Google Scholar
  5. Cote, D., D. A. Scruton, G. H. Niezgoda, R. S. McKinley, D. F. Rowsell, R. T. Lindstrom, L. M. N. Ollerhead & C. J. Whitt, 1998. A coded acoustic telemetry system for high precision monitoring of fish location and movement: application to the study of nearshore nursery habitat of juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Mar. Technol. Soc. J. 32: 54-62.Google Scholar
  6. Engås, A., S. Løkkeborg & J. T. Øvredal, 1996. Natural and fishinggear-induced behaviour of tagged fish, studied by means of a stationary positioning system. In Baras, E. & J. C. Philippart (eds), Proceedings of the First Conference and Workshop on Fish Telemetry in Europe, Underwater Telemetry, University of Liege, Liege: 203-211.Google Scholar
  7. Engås, A., E. K. Haugland & J. T. Øvredal, 1998. Reactions of cod (Gadus morhua) in the pre-vessel zone to an approaching trawler under different light conditions: preliminary results. Hydrobiologia 371/372: 199-206.Google Scholar
  8. Fernö, A. & I. Huse. 1983. The effect of experience on the behaviour of cod (Gadus morhua L.) towards a baited hook. Fish. Res. 2: 19-28.Google Scholar
  9. Godø, O. R., I. Huse & K. Michalsen, 1997. Bait defence behaviour of wolffish and its impact on long-line catch rates. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 273-275.Google Scholar
  10. Gregory, R. S. & J. T. Anderson, 1997. Substrate selection and use of protective cover by juvenile Atlantic cod Gadus morhua in inshore waters of Newfoundland. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 146: 9-20.Google Scholar
  11. Holm, M., G. P. Arnold, J. C. Holst & K. Ø. Midling, 1999. Capture and handling of fish for electronic tagging-a review and a new non-intrusive capture method. ICES CM Doc. 1997/AA:03, 24 pp.Google Scholar
  12. Huse, I. & A. V. Soldal, 2000. An attempt to improve size selection in pelagic longline fisheries for haddock. Fish. Res. 48: 43-54.Google Scholar
  13. Jepsen, N., A. Koed, E. B. Thorstad & E. Baras, 2002. Surgical implantation of telemetry transmitters in fish: how much have we learned? Hydrobiologia 483/Dev. Hydrobiol. 165: 239-248.Google Scholar
  14. Løkkeborg, S., Å. Bjordal & A. Fernö, 1989. Responses of cod (Gadus morhua) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) to baited hooks in the natural environment. Can. J. Fish. aquat. Sci. 46: 1478-1483.Google Scholar
  15. Løkkeborg, S., 1991. Fishing experiments with an alternative longline bait using surplus fish products. Fish. Res. 12: 43-56.Google Scholar
  16. Løkkeborg, S., 1998. Feeding behaviour of cod, Gadus morhua: activity rhythm and chemically mediated food search. Anim. Behav. 56: 371-378.Google Scholar
  17. Løkkeborg, S. & A. Fernö, 1999. Diel activity pattern and food search behaviour in cod, Gadus morhua. Envir. Biol. Fishes 54: 345-353.Google Scholar
  18. Løkkeborg, S., K. Skajaa & A. Fernö, 2000. Food-search strategy in ling (Molva molva L.): crepuscular activity and use of space. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 247: 195-208.Google Scholar
  19. Parrish, F. A. P. & R. B. Moffitt, 1993. Subsurface fish handling to limit decompression effects on deepwater species. Mar. Fish. Rev. 54: 29-32.Google Scholar
  20. Pálsson, Ó. K., 1994. A review of the trophic interactions of cod stocks in the North Atlantic. ICES Mar. Sci. Symp. 198: 553-575.Google Scholar
  21. Priede, I. G., P. M. Bagley, J. D. Armstrong, K. L. Smith Jr. & N. R. Merrett, 1991. Direct measurement of active dispersal of food-falls by deep-sea demersal fishes. Nature 371: 647-649.Google Scholar
  22. Smolowitz, R. & D. Wiley, 1998. Telemetry ahead: proceed with caution? Mar. Technol. Soc. J. 32: 76-77.Google Scholar
  23. Starr, R. M., J. N. Heine & K. A. Johnson, 2000. Techniques for tagging and tracking deepwater rockfishes. N. Am. J. Fish. Manage. 20: 597-609.Google Scholar
  24. Sutterlin, A. M., P. Solemdal & S. Tilseth, 1982. Baits in fisheries with emphasis on the North Atlantic cod fishing industry. In Hara, T. J. (ed.), Chemoreception in Fishes. Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam: 293-305.Google Scholar
  25. Voegeli, F. A., M. J. Smale, D. M. Webber, Y. Andrade & R. K. O'Dor, 2001. Ultrasonic telemetry, tracking and automated technology for sharks. Envir. Biol. Fishes 60: 267-281.Google Scholar
  26. Winger, P. D. & S. J. Walsh, 2001. Tagging of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) with intragastric transmitters: effects of forced insertion and voluntary ingestion on retention, food consumption and survival. J. Appl. Ichthyol. 17: 234-239.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul D. Winger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barry R. McCallum
    • 2
  • Stephen J. Walsh
    • 2
  • Joseph A. Brown
    • 3
  1. 1.Biopsychology Program, Departments of Biology and PsychologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John'sCanada
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Science, Oceans and Environment BranchNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries CentreSt. John'sCanada
  3. 3.Ocean Sciences Centre, MemorialUniversity of NewfoundlandSt. John'sCanada

Personalised recommendations