Tagged snapper found 20 years later, NIWA says


A fish tagged by researchers 20 years ago was found in almost the exact same spot.

A beacon similar to the one found in Snapper.
Photo: Supplied / Niwa

The tag was implemented in February 2002 by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to track snapper stocks.

The snapper and the beacon

Photo: Supplied / Mr Chilt

The snapper was caught by a person known as Mr Chilt, an amateur jetski fisherman, on February 27 in Patea, south Taranaki.

The tag is known as a passive embedded transponder.

Chilt, who recorded the find for his YouTube channel, said it was just another day of steady fishing when he made the find.

See also  The Tampa Bay Black Excellence Challenge supports local businesses

“I went fishing [position], dropped the old “ham on the bone” – that’s the name of my homemade fishing lure – and immediately started catching big snappers. I released most of them but brought some snapper home.

“It wasn’t until I started filleting this one that I saw the label and thought ‘what the hell is this fish? I did some research and found out that it belonged to NIWA, so I contacted them and sent them the tag for inspection,” he said.

See also  BIS publishes "performance standards" for two-wheeled electric vehicles

When first tagged, the fish was 49 cm long and weighed about 2.35 kg.

Two decades later, it was 65cm long and weighed 5.17kg.

NIWA Fisheries Program Manager Dr Darren Parsons said it was unusual to catch a tagged fish after so long because the tag was positioned in the animal’s gut cavity.

But finding the fish in the same area where it was originally released was no coincidence, he said.

“The fish have moved in those 20 years, but they follow a seasonal pattern, moving in and out with the spawning seasons, because that’s what a lot of snappers do.”

See also  CDC recommends COVID-19 injections for children under 5

The objective of the 2002 tagging program was to estimate snapper biomass off the west coast of the North Island, the data then being passed on to the Department of Primary Industries for management of fish stock objectives.

Niwa no longer tags snapper with PITs, the 2002 scheme being the last undertaken, meaning this snapper was one of the last to receive a PIT tag in New Zealand.

The device is the only one of its kind to have been reported since the early 2000s.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here