Marking, Tagging, and Tracking of Fish and Wildlife: Part II

Fish and wildlife tracking data inform how individual organisms and populations distribute locally, utilize habitat, migrate over larger scales, and evolve over time. Technological advances in tracking systems ignite the development of new questions about the ecology of species where previous tools did not exist to address them. Analyzed carefully, tracking data may indicate changes in climate and land use, biodiversity, invasive species, predict spread of diseases or parasites, and correspond to effectiveness of stocking efforts. Tracking measures include utilization of physical marking tags, light-level geolocators, acoustic, radio, satellite, and GPS that enable investigation of spatial ecology and behavior of a variety of terrestrial, aerial and aquatic species. Tagging methods vary by size, price, memory and power capacity, scale, and ease of use. Successful marking and tracking approaches not only involve proper tagging and placement of monitors to detect movements, but also require robust analyses and effective communication of large datasets. This symposium will share technologies, methodologies, findings, analytical approaches, and troubleshooting tips across a broad array of species and objectives to highlight more recent developments and encourage collaboration. We ask that authors submit papers revolving around one or more of the following topics: • Description of novel tagging methods or monitoring approaches • Description of novel combinations of technologies for improved data quality or quantity, including metadata collection • Connection of tracking data to environmental data, such as climate, habitat, or water quality • Explanation and demonstration of useful software for tracking data management and analysis • Explanation and demonstration of robust analytical approaches used with tracking data • Application of tracking data to inform decision-making processes in fish or wildlife policy Abstracts for presentations are solicited from policy and management agencies, fish and wildlife industries, non-governmental organizations, technology-partners, research institutions, citizen-scientists, academia (including students), and other stakeholders.

8:00AM An Overview of Marking, Tagging and Tracking of Fish
  Lee Blankenship, Geraldine Vander Haegen
An Overview of Marking, Tagging and Tracking of Fish The American Fisheries Society has sponsored two International Symposiums on marking and tagging, the first in Seattle Washington in 1988 and the second in Auckland New Zealand in 2008. Innovation and progress in electronics, computer technology and genetics since those workshops continues to provide great advances in fish marking and tagging technology. Examples include automated marking and tagging, genotyping, and otolith marking which have enabled the origin of millions of hatchery and wild fish to be identified, hatchery and wild interactions to be studied, and improvements to fish culture practices to be made. Electronic tags have been miniaturized and antennae systems and receivers can be spaced across vast areas for large scale monitoring of movement and migration. These technological advances are providing further insight into the biology, ecology, migratory behavior and survival to better manage our hatcheries and fisheries.
8:20AM Fish Tagging and Tracking: Case Studies from the Mekong, Mongolia, and Central Nevada
  Zeb Hogan
Tagging and tracking fish is an effective method of gathering data on fish movement and habitat use. Case studies from the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, the Eg-Uur River in Mongolia, and Summit Lake in Central Nevada demonstrate the advantages and challenges associated with various tagging methods, across continents, species groups, and vastly different spatial scales. In the Mekong Basin, tagging using conventional external t-bar tags, combined with analysis of catch data and stable isotopes, provided preliminary information about the movement patterns of Panagasiid catfish. On the Eg-Uur River in Mongolia, radio and acoustic tagging established home range size, seasonal movement patterns, and fishing mortality estimates for the world’s largest trout. In the Summit Lake Basin of central Nevada, PIT tagging combined with fixed arrays and manual tracking demonstrated population connectivity of adfluvial and stream-resident Lahontan cutthroat trout. These case studies demonstrate potential uses of tagging in both small temperate and large tropical systems, but also highlight many challenges associated with tagging that require careful planning and creative approaches to overcome. Novel tagging methods, or novel combinations of tagging and other approaches, may assist in generating data to inform decision-making and wildlife policy.
8:40AM Movement of Northern Snakehead within the White River, Arkansas System
  Micah Tindall, Justin Homan, Steve Lochmann
Northern Snakehead Channa argus were first discovered in Arkansas in 2008. Little effort has been expended understanding their movements among the many interconnected waterways of the White River system. To characterize these movements, Northern Snakehead were implanted with ATS radio transmitters and released into three tributaries of the White River previously known to contain Northern Snakeheads: the Cache River, Wattensaw Bayou, and Bayou Des Arc. Stationary receivers were used to monitor the movements made by these individuals. Additionally, attempts were made to locate fish every two weeks using a mobile receiver and locations were marked with a GPS. In particular, we observed the choices individuals made at the intersection of a tributary and the main stem of the White River. These patterns were examined across four seasons, winter (Jan-Mar), spring (April-June), summer (June-Sept) and fall (Oct-Dec). Movement patterns differed among seasons, but was highest within tributaries. Upstream movements occurred mostly during spring and summer months, indicating that within drainage spread likely occurs in warmer months. Downstream movement within the White River occurred largely during late fall and winter. Because these movements coincided with flood pulses, winter floods may account for a large proportion of between drainage movement.
9:00AM In Search of an Anesthesia Alternative for Field-Based Research
  Travis C. Durhack, Jennifer D. Jeffrey, Eva C. Enders
Chemical anesthesia is currently the only approved method for anesthetizing fish for sampling and surgical procedures by many organizations, including the Canadian Council on Animal Care, Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although MS-222 (Tricaine-S) performs well, the long chemical withdrawal time (21 days according to the FDA) makes it a poor choice for field-based research where fish cannot be held very long, especially in areas where commercial, subsistence or recreational fisheries occur. The lack of approved anesthesia options for field research is mainly due to a lack of research on the suitability of alternatives, particularly for surgery. In the present study, juvenile Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) were subjected to a handling stressor or surgical stressor (tag implantation) using one of three anesthetics: MS-222, AQUI-S® and electro-immobilization. To estimate pain, stress levels (glucose and cortisol) were measured over several time-points (0-h, 1-h, 4-h, 24-h, 1-week post-stressor). The results from this study suggest some time-specific differences in stress levels between anesthetics; however, there was limited evidence to suggest differences in the efficacy of the anesthetic methods at mediating stress levels in Brook Trout. Thus, both AQUI-S® and electro-immobilization may provide suitable alternatives to MS-222 for field research.
9:20AM Improving PIT Tag Detection Arrays: Simulation Framework for Evaluating Array Placement and Tagging Rates
  Lynn Waterhouse, Jodi White, Kevin See, Andrew Murdoch, Brice X. Semmens
Many riverine species have been negatively impacted by human development, leading to management concerns of the population status of such species. In many cases, estimating abundance within particular stretches of river systems is a management priority in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their conservation or restoration actions. A variety of methods have been used to estimate abundance. Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag studies with in-stream detection arrays have become an increasingly popular way to monitor species movements within a riverine network. Originally developed for work done in the Columbia River basin on steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), we expanded the model into a simulation framework for evaluating placement of detection arrays (in terms of single versus paired arrays) and tagging rates. The Bayesian model uses PIT tag data with imperfect detections to estimate probabilities of up-stream movements along with detection rates. This simulation framework provides both model validation (precision) and the ability to evaluate expected performance improvements (variance) due to changes in tagging rates or detection array configuration. Results from such investigations can help inform decisions regarding future monitoring and management of a variety of riverine species.
09:40AM Break
1:10PM River Herring Tracking and Web-Based Simulation Tool for Evaluating Passage Efficiency and Restoration Design through a Restored Coastal Watershed
  John Sheppard, Robert Vincent, Ben Bray, Glorianna Davenport
River herring (alewife and blueback) serve important ecological functions, and concern over these species has increased in recent years. Management of river herring populations and their habitats has become a priority for state and federal regulators with recognition for the importance of protecting and restoring spawning and nursery habitats. An ongoing habitat restoration project in Beaver Dam Brook in southeastern Massachusetts seeks to support river herring populations by restoring habitat connectivity in the watershed. In 2017, a total of 76 alewives were collected and tagged using Passive Integrated Transponders. Fish movements were monitored using antennas placed in various locations throughout the restoration site. Twenty-nine percent of tagged individuals reached the primary spawning habitat and from these results, the River Herring Mapping Project, a web-based interactive tool was created. The tool is fast, database-driven, cross-platform compatible, and built from a modern, open-source web development framework. This project aims to provide valuable information on the effects of habitat restoration on river herring spawning populations by evaluating passage efficiency through a network of newly restored stream channels. Version 1.0 of the simulation is presented with plans for future versions to provide more information to inform fisheries restoration and management efforts.
1:30PM Maximum Likelihood Estimation of the Proportion of Hatchery-Origin Fish on Spawning Grounds Using Coded-Wire and Parentage-Based Tagging
  Richard A. Hinrichsen, Craig A. Steele, Michael W. Ackerman, Matthew R. Campbell, Shawn R. Narum, Maureen A. Hess, William Young, Barbara A. Shields, Brian Maschhoff
For salmon populations in the Columbia River basin, estimates of the proportion of hatchery-origin adults in spawning areas (p) are needed to assess population status and potential for interbreeding between hatchery- and wild-origin adults. To identify hatchery-origin fish on spawning grounds, some hatchery releases are given visible marks, some are tagged with coded-wire tags (CWTs) or parentage-based tags (PBTs), or all three. The PBT approach uses genotypes of hatchery broodstock and parentage assignments to identify the origin and brood year of their progeny. We derived a maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) of p and applied it to the 2012 and 2013 carcass survey data for Spring Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha in the South Fork Salmon River, USA. Precision of p from MLE increased with the expected number of tag recoveries, whether CWT or PBT. In the South Fork Salmon River application, there were 340% more parentage-based tag recoveries than CWT recoveries, leading to greater precision in release-specific ps from MLE. To design a program for estimating p, we recommend selecting a target level of precision and then choose a tagging fraction and sampling rate that delivers that precision in the most cost-effective way.
1:50PM Spatial Ecology of Walleye in the Bay of Quinte and Eastern Lake Ontario
  Connor Elliott, Erin Brown, James Hoyle, Bruce Tufts
Walleye (Sander vitreus) in the Bay of Quinte and eastern Lake Ontario are known to be highly migratory. Until recently, most of the available information about their movements has been obtained from traditional assessment approaches. Acoustic telemetry and expanding GLATOS receiver networks are now providing new opportunities to gain more detailed insights into their seasonal movements and distributions. The information collected as part of this study will be valuable to guide future management decisions for this trophy Walleye fishery. This project has been using acoustic telemetry to collect multiple years of fine scale movement data for Walleye in this area. Since the spring of 2017, 190 Walleye have been surgically implanted with acoustic transmitters at various locations, both within the Bay of Quinte and across eastern Lake Ontario. A combination of smaller non-migratory and larger migratory fish have been tagged in an attempt to better understand patterns of movement at different life history stages. Movement data for different groups of Walleye will be presented and the factors that might be driving these movements will be discussed.
2:10PM Acoustic Telemetry of Northern Pike in Winter: Insights into Short-Term Post-Catch and Release Movement Following Ice Angling
  Christopher Somers, Una Goncin, Shayna Hamilton, Michelle Chupik
The behavior of fish after catch and release is of both management and welfare interest, but it is very poorly studied in the winter. We used manual acoustic telemetry to track the daily movements of 58 to 100-cm northern pike (Esox luscius) following catch and release in late winter (February and March) in Saskatchewan, Canada. Pike made a range of daily movements (0.5 to 3.5 km), and often traveled large distances over the 7-day period (up to 20 km). Manual acoustic tracking in winter presents a series of challenges, including operation of equipment at extreme temperatures (down to -38oC in our study area), safe transportation on lake ice, and extremely long detection ranges at moderate signal intensity (as high as 3-4 km) based on under-ice propagation. However, these challenges can be overcome with some basic training and experience. In northern regions, ice angling can be a major pressure on sport fisheries. More information is required on how fish respond to catch and release in the winter, and acoustic telemetry appears to be a useful approach. In this presentation we will share some of our insights into this tagging and tracking application during severe winter conditions.
2:30PM Using Acoustic Telemetry to Investigate Cobia Stock Structure in the Southeast US
  Riley M. Gallagher, Jacob R. Krause, Jeffrey A. Buckel
As part of a coast-wide initiative among multiple investigators, we are using telemetry tagging in North Carolina and Virginia and collaborative receiver networks in the Southeast US (SEUS) to address questions about Cobia (Rachycentron canadum) stock structure and the boundary between Gulf of Mexico and SEUS stocks. In 2018, we surgically implanted acoustic transmitters in 54 Cobia. Within one year, receiver networks between Florida and Maryland detected 87% of these fish. Most notably, five Cobia were detected south of the current Georgia/Florida stock boundary, but within the recognized stock mixing zone, and three Cobia overwintered at depths greater than 66 meters off North Carolina. The overwintering Cobia in outer shelf waters off North Carolina provide evidence for the possibility of a localized sub-population that migrates laterally across the shelf. Our results highlight the spatial complexity of Cobia movements in the SEUS and provide information that can be incorporated into future Cobia stock assessments.
2:50PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM Grouper Tales: Use of Acoustic Telemetry to Evaluate Essential Fish Habitat in the Florida Keys
  Jessica Keller, Jennifer Herbig, Danielle Morley, Ariel Wile, Paul Barbera, Alejandro Acosta
Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) is habitat necessary for fish spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity and has been recognized as important areas to be included in management plans. The Western Dry Rocks area off Key West, Florida is an open fishing area that contains a multispecies fish spawning aggregation site, but grouper spawning there has yet to be confirmed. The movements of eighteen adult and sub-adult groupers of four species (Black Grouper Mycteroperca bonaci, Nassau Grouper Epinephelus striatus, Gag Grouper Mycteroperca microlepis, and Yellowfin Grouper Mycteroperca venenosa) were tracked at Western Dry Rocks using acoustic telemetry to determine whether the area contains essential fish habitat such as a spawning aggregation site. Overall, tagged groupers were more likely to be present in the Western Dry Rocks array during winter spawning months, with species specific seasonal and diel differences. The increased presence of groupers during spawning months and presence of some adult and sub-adult groupers year-round suggests the Western Dry Rocks area is EFH for both adult and sub-adult groupers and provides support that the area should be considered in management plans as it is likely a fish spawning aggregation site for species that spawn during different times of the year.
3:40PM Using a Mobile Acoustic Telemetry Array to Locate Bonefish Spawning Aggregations in the Bahamas
  David Philipp, Aaron Shultz, Elizabeth Wallace, Karen J. Murchie, Jeffrey Stein, Julie Claussen
Research initiated in Eleuthera over ten years ago by the Flats Ecology and Conservation Program (FECP), a coalition of scientists from a number of different institutions in the US and Canada that operates under the administrative and fiscal auspices of the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, was the first to describe the complex life history of Bonefish in the Bahamas. This life history involves the long distance migration of adults on full and new moons to form near-shore aggregations that spawn over the adjacent drop-off to deep-ocean at night during the early falling tide. Those aggregation and spawning sites, however, are being threatened by (proposed and implemented) development projects that involve large-scale shoreline habitat alterations. Identifying and protecting those sites has been identified as the highest priority conservation need for this important fishery. To accomplish that goal, we have been deploying acoustic telemetry arrays for a number of years in an annually evolving pattern to track the movements of adult Bonefish, thereby identifying all of the VERY FEW aggregation sites across entire island complexes, including Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, and Abaco. This information is critical for conservation planning in the Bahamas.
4:20PM Addressing Discard Mortality Data Gaps in Northeast U.S. Recreational Fisheries with Acoustic Telemetry and Parametric Survival Modeling
  Connor Capizzano, John Mandelman, Emily Jones, Douglas Zemeckis, Micah Dean, William Hoffman
The mortality of fish intentionally released after capture represents a global concern because it can result in wasted resources, adverse ecological effects, and, when inaccurately accounted for, uncertainty in stock assessments and management plans. Reliable discard mortality rate estimates are therefore vital for the sustainability of any stock, especially those with high discard rates. Such is the case for numerous stocks in the northeastern U.S., specifically Atlantic cod, haddock, cusk, and black sea bass, where there has been a paucity of discard mortality research. Our team conducted several field-based studies to address discard mortality data gaps in these recreational fisheries and assess the efficacy of recommended best practice guidelines for reducing mortality. Given the need to recreate authentic conditions, we used acoustic telemetry to monitor and analyze fish behavior and movement in their natural environment and to confidently infer their fate. The continuous tracking of fish fate also yielded longitudinal data that, when combined with a specifically-adapted parametric survival modeling approach, revealed which capture-related factors influenced mortality. Findings from these studies informed stock assessments and management decisions and provided opportunities for reducing bycatch impacts through angler education, all of which help promote the sustainability of these recreational fisheries.

Organizers: Michelle L. “Mick” Walsh, Jeff Jenness, Richard D. Methot, Sean M. Lucey, Rebecca M. Krogman, Quinton Phelps
Supported by: AFS Sections: Fish Culture; Fisheries Information and Technology; Marine Fisheries; Fisheries Management; TWS Working Group: Spatial Ecology and Telemetry; American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists

Location: Reno-Sparks CC Date: October 1, 2019 Time: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm