Publication Detail

SEVENTEEN YEARS AND $3 MILLION DOLLARS LATER: PERFORMANCE OF PSAT TAGS DEPLOYED ON ATLANTIC BLUEFIN AND BIGEYE TUNA

Molly E Lutcavage, Chi H Lam, Benjamin Galuardi
2014
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In the 1990’s, development of the PSAT tag was a major milestone for investigations of Atlantic bluefin tuna. Although early studies tested the technology and described general migration patterns, fisheries scientists now seek analytical approaches to use the spatial and temporal information returned by PSATs in stock assessments. Nonetheless, PSATs remain expensive, have multiple sources of error, and poorly resolved data. The evolving dynamics of hardware and international tagging programs also confound interpretation, delaying progress towards integration of population-level data. There are few available PSAT datasets where tagging was
performed by the same individuals, using consistent methods, over a long time period. From 1997-2012, we deployed PSAT tags on 555 bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) and 21 Atlantic bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), using five tag models (PTT-100, X-tag, Microwave Telemetry, Inc.; Mk10, MiniPAT, Wildlife Computers; SeaTag-MOD, Desert Star Systems). We present details of the tags’ highly variable performance records, and given realized costs of PSATs, we advocate for innovations including 1) robust experimental design of tag release, 2) transparent, open source software, 3) reduction in size and cost, 4) innovation in capability, 5) integrated data repositories. Major advances in tracking technologies will require multi disciplinary expertise as well as adequate funding.

type: Presentations

Parent Project

Project No.: 2011-E/E-66-NSI
Title: Benjamin Galuardi - MIT Sea Grant - NMFS Population Dynamics Fellowship: Integrating electronic tag information into stock assessment of large pelagic animals