Ankle bracelets for fish.. knowing
who is coming and going…
Developing an acoustic fish “gate” for
the Chester River.
Hassan Moustahfid, PhD.
The BEST of the Chester Apr. 17-19, 2012
• Early Tagging Studies in Chester River
• Present studies DNR- Perch etc. Spawning and
• What new in Fish Tagging/Telemetry (Electronic
Tags, Acoustic and Satellite etc.)
• Chester river
• What? potential fish to tag
• Where? Potential Acoustic Telemetry Array
• Why? Example of questions to answer
• Couple optimal design for different needs
Early Fish Tagging Work
Mansueti, 1960 in Chesapeake Science Vol. 1
Comparison of the Movements of Stocked and
Resident Yellow Perch, Perca flavescens, in
Tributaries of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
Mark –recapture technique
Few returned fish
Fish Tagging Work
Fisherman interest in the spawning run of yellow perch in Maryland’s upper
Chesapeake waters, Maryland DNR implemented a pilot study in spring 2008.
The objective: investigate movements of yellow perch during the spawning period.
Technique used Mark-Recapture- Fish were tagged with t-bar anchor tags.
Fishermen where rewarded if they get back the tags.
A total of 1495 yellow perch were tagged and released
DNR Fisheries Service 2008 Yellow Perch
Tagging (mark-recapture) study,
RESULTS: Of the 1495 fish tagged, 27 tag returned.
Conclusion: The success of conventional tagging study is very closely related to fishermen
Acoustic Telemetry Technology
– VEMCO, LOTEK, HTI, etc.
– Passive arrays, manual equipment,
Even Clupeid species such as Herring, Shad can be tagged
with acoustic tags.
Source Tag A Giant Program
Fabrizio et al. 2005. NOAA tech memo,
Courtesy Dr.John Payne (POST)
Chester River Acoustic Array Design
The waters of the Chester are spawning and
nursery areas for many fish species:
Alewife, shad, blueback, perch, Blue Crab.
Striped bass=Rockfish is the most prized
anadromous (freshwater spawning) fish found in
Perfect place to establish an acoustic array,
Depth Max: 50-60 m
Mouth Love point and Eastern Neck: ~2 miles
Bathymetry of the lower Chester River. Note that the mouth of
the Chester River is shallower than the vicinity of fixed
monitoring station ET4.2. Source: EPA Chesapeake Bay Program. 2010.
Why do we tag fish?
• Help fisheries managers understand more about the fish species and their
• Identification of sensitive “hot spot” areas, high value
• Ecosystems and ecosystem benefits created by Marine Protected Areas
• Monitor and mitigate the impacts of management strategies including
protected areas and fisheries regulations.
• Define essential fish habitat (EFH)
• Establish baseline habitat usage studies on potential sites of future
anthropogenic disturbance (e.g aquaculture sites)
• Improve stock assessments: provide spatial and temporal refinement of
mortality , harvest susceptibility and survival rates
• Animal Telemetry can reveal how environmental factors drives animal
distributions in nutrient enriched estuaries and coastal areas, to better
understand the impact of the large low-oxygen zones
• Provide the scientific basis for ecosystem-based management (EBM).
• Recreational Fisherman interest in the spawning run
Education and outreach:
• From recreational fishers to
conservationists animals offer a unique
opportunity to catch the attention of the
public and educate them about the value
and importance of ocean observation.
• Popular and useful educational products
have been created for grades K-12 with
telemetry and tracking data.
Example of a Typical Receiver Layout
for a River Migration Study
Chester River Acoustic Telemetry Array
Striped Bass= Rockfish
Again the design will depend on
the Research Priorities