Fish tagging

Fish tagging experiments have been conducted in Icelandic waters since early twentieth century. These tagging experiments have been carried out on several commercial fish stocks mainly: cod, haddock, herring, plaice, saithe, wolfish, and to lesser degree: deep-sea redfish, lumpfish, halibut, dab, witch, anglerfish or monkfish and rough dab. Some invertebrates have also been tagged like Norway lobster, deep water shrimp and Iceland scallop.

Electronic tags since 1995

Until 1994 only so called conventional tags were used of various types that have in common that they have identification letters and numbers. Since 1995 electronic tags, Data Storage Tags (DSTs), have also been used. These are capsules with sensors and memory chips for recording and storing environmental data. The fundamental data that has been collected is ambient temperature and depth of the fish. The development of this technology has been very fast and more sensors have been developed such as salinity, tilt, sound, etc. 

Where as the conventional tagging methods yield only data that is collected at release and recapture, the use of electronic tags give the additional possibility of data collection in the period between release and recapture. This does not mean that conventional tags are obsolete. Depending on purpose of tagging experiments one could use either conventional tags, electronic devices, or both in combination.

Tagging experiments have mostly been conducted to assess or investigate various aspects of population biology such as abundance, distribution, behaviour, mortality, growth, population structure and for monitoring stocks. The addition of electronic technology has increased research potential in tagging experiments beyond imagination.

Fee paid for recaptured fish tags

Tagging experiments are only successful if fish are recaptured, and therefore return of tags is a prerequisite for these studies.

Recovered tags should be returned to the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, Fornubúðum 5, 220 Hafnarfjörður. A fee is paid for each recaptured tag; 2.000 ISK for conventional T-bar tag, 10.000 ISK for data storage tags and 5.000 for a recaptured lumpfish. After return, the sender receives information about where and when the fish was tagged, and if otoliths are returned, also information about the age. Requests regarding tags/recaptures can be sent to merki @

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