Cod Tagging LogoThe SMAST Cod Tagging Project

Project Manager: David Martins• 508.910.6392

The Cod Tagging Project at SMAST was developed through the Massachusetts Fisheries Recovery Commission (MFRC) and funded through the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region Cooperative Research Partners Initiative (CRPI). The project was developed to provide a liaison with the fishing fleet and create an industry based program that will provide data on the abundance, distribution, and behavior of commercially fished species and the environment in which they are found. The program utilizes the knowledge and expertise of the local fishing industry to collect and tag cod under normal fishing operations in the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and Nantucket Shoals.
Objectives of the project include:
• Determine the large-scale seasonal movement patterns of cod throughout the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank
• Measure growth rates and recruitment of cod in the wild
• Evaluate the environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, habitat) in areas where cod are found

Vessels with homeports ranging from Monhegan Island, Maine to Montauk, New York have provided assistance with fish collection and tagging. SMAST personnel also accompany chartered vessels on trips solely dedicated to research activities. As fish are collected and tagged, the location and time of capture are recorded, along with the fish’s length. A small yellow T-bar tag (3” in length) is inserted into the musculature at the base of the fish’s first dorsal fin and the fish are released. The T-Bar tags have a yellow collar on which a unique identification number is printed for fish determination, along with the SMAST name and phone number for reporting recaptured tags. Archival tags are also attached in a similar location on a subset of fish to record environmental parameters such as temperature, depth, and salinity. Each tag contains a unique sequence of numbers that identify the fish and is used to link the tagging data with similar information collected once the fish is recaptured.

Stellwagen Bank Tagging Report

Engineer Luis Marcalo (left) and Capt. Pedro Cura of the F/V Fisherman ready to attach a yellow identification tag to a cod.
3 different kinds of tags

SMAST Fisheries
Fish Tagging Program Manager: David Martins
The School for Marine Science and Technology
706 South Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02744-1221 • Tel. 508.999.8193
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