Fish Tag Recovery

Pacific Salmon and Steelhead High-seas Tag Recovery Program

Program Overview

High seas salmon tagging has been conducted from the 1950s to the present by placing disk tags on salmon and steelhead during research cruises in the North Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea. These studies have been used to investigate ocean distribution, migration, and growth of salmon at sea. Reporting salmon and steelhead tag recoveries is important because it provides direct evidence of the distribution and ocean habitat of salmon, which can be affected by climatic changes, and helps to conserve salmon stocks in North Pacific ecosystems. Some disk-tagged fish also carry an electronic tag. Recoveries of undamaged electronic tags provide detailed information on the individual salmon’s behaviour by recording the fish’s swimming depth and other information about the fish’s habitat. Disk tags and electronic tags are easy to see because they are placed outside the fish’s body, near the dorsal fin. Please return high seas salmon and steelhead tags.

Rewards for Tag Recovery

Any member of the public (i.e. fishermen, processors, non fishery-agency personnel) who returns an NPAFC High Seas Tag will receive a custom-embroidered baseball cap with the high seas salmon tagging emblem. In addition, persons returning tags will be entered into the next drawing for cash prizes.

About Tags

Disk Tags
Several types of plastic disk tags have been placed on salmon and steelhead. These disk tags are about 3/4″ (19 mm) in diameter and each is imprinted with a unique identification number.

    • red NPAFC-logo plastic disk tag (Fig. 1A and B)
    • other tags are red and white, or solid red plastic disks (Fig. 1C and D).

Electronic Tags
Several types of electronic data-recording tags have been placed on salmon and steelhead.

    • blue hexagonal tag (Fig. 2A; records water temperature)
    • green rectangular tag (Fig. 2B; records water temperature and fish swimming depth)
    • electronic cylindrical tag (Fig. 2C; records water temperature and fish swimming depth)
    • white cylindrical tag (Fig. 2D; records water temperature, fish swimming depth, and salinity)
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Guide for Reporting Tags

Tag return posters can be viewed for each member country:

What to do if You Catch a Tagged Fish

1) collect tag (if the tag cannot be collected, then record the tag number and description)
2) record catch location, date, time, species, sex, length, weight, and fishing gear
3) collect scales for age and growth information
4) send the tags and other information to one of addresses below. Make sure to include your name, address, and a phone number, so we can send you your tag recovery reward and provide you with information on when and where in the ocean your fish was tagged and released. Or call one of the contact numbers listed below.

Addresses for Tag Returns

Canada

John Holmes
Pacific Biological Station
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
3190 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC    V9T 6N7
Canada
Phone: 250-756-7145
Email: john.holmes@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Japan

Shunpei Sato
Stock Conservation Group
Salmon Resources Division,
Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute,
Fisheries Research Agency
2-2 Nakanoshima, Toyohira-ku
Sapporo   062-0922
Japan
Phone: 011-822-2340
Email: shuns@affrc.go.jp

Korea

Do Hyun Lee
Inland Life Resources Center, East Sea Branch
Korea Fisheries Resources Agency (FIRA)
119 Dongmyeong-ro, Sonyang-myeon
Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do, 25041
Republic of Korea
Phone: 82-33-670-1625
Email: ldoh@fira.or.kr

Russia

Maxim Koval
Kamchatka Scientific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (KamchatNIRO)
18 Naberezhnaya St.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky   683602
Federation of Russia
Phone: 4152-294-635
Email: koval.m.v@kamniro.ru

United States

Jeff Guyon
National Marine Fisheries Service
Auke Bay Laboratories,
Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Point Lena Loop Road
Juneau, AK   99801
USA
Phone: 907-789-6079
Email: jeff.guyon@noaa.gov

NPAFC

NPAFC Secretariat
Suite 502, 889 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC   V6C 3B2
Canada
Phone: 604-775-5550
Email: secretariat@npafc.org

Results for Recent Tagging Experiments

Recoveries of high seas tags and tag releases from high seas research vessel surveys in 2016
NPAFC Doc. 1706, 2017

Recoveries of high seas tags and tag releases from high seas research vessel surveys in 2015
NPAFC Doc. 1659, 2016

Recoveries of high seas tags and tag releases from high seas research vessel surveys in 2014
NPAFC Doc. 1600 (Rev.1), 2015

Recoveries of high seas tags in 2012–2013 and tag releases in 2013 from high seas research vessel surveys in the North Pacific Ocean
NPAFC Doc. 1535, 2014

Recoveries of high-seas tags in 2011 and tag releases in 2012 from high seas research vessel surveys in the North Pacific Ocean
NPAFC Doc. 1438, 2012

Recoveries of high-seas tags in 2010 and tag releases in 2011 from high seas research vessel surveys in the North Pacific Ocean
NPAFC Doc. 1358, 2011

2009 Reported Recoveries of high seas tags and tag releases in 2010 from high seas research vessel surveys in the North Pacific Ocean
NPAFC Doc. 1268 (Rev.1), 2010

Recoveries of high seas tags in 2008–2009 and tag releases in 2009 from high seas research vessel surveys in the North Pacific Ocean
NPAFC Doc. 1197 (Rev.1), 2009

Recoveries of high seas tags in 2007–2008 and tag releases in 2008 from high seas research vessel surveys in the North Pacific Ocean
NPAFC Doc. 1119, 2008

Tag Recovery Data Request

REQUEST TO OBTAIN RECORDS FROM THE INPFC/NPAFC HIGH-SEAS SALMONID TAG-RECOVERY DATABASE

This database contains records on the high-seas release and recoveries of salmonids (1956–2011). High seas tags are external tags, mostly disk tags. This database does not contain high-seas recoveries of coded-wire tags (CWT).

If you are a user with access to the Members’ Area of this website, then go to that area for access to the database.

This is the procedure to use if you do not have access to the Members’ Area of this website:

1) Examine NPAFC Doc. 192 (1996) for a visual summary of the data. This document presents maps showing the high-seas locations of tagged salmon and steelhead grouped by area of coastal recovery. Although this document is dated, it shows the bulk of the data because most recoveries pre-date the mid-1990s. The document also cautions the user to possible biases in the data.
2) The format and codes used in the INPFC/NPAFC database are explained in NPAFC Doc. 1396. This document is needed to understand column descriptions and codes used in the database.
3) If you want to request tag-recovery records, please download the request form, fill it out, and email it to the Secretariat.