Schoolie Tag

Scientists post a reward to advance a bluefin-tagging study.


|| |---| || |Scientists plan to tag 100 juvenile bluefin to study their migration patterns. Photo: Ruben Perez| As if this season's stream of 15- to 40-pound bluefin hasn't been enough to get you on the water, now scientists are willing to pay you 500 bucks for tagged schoolies.

In June a team of scientists in the Northeast began the Juvenile Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Cooperative Tagging Program. One hundred one- to three-year-old bluefin will be tagged with "implanted archival tags" to study the migration patterns of the fish. The scientists hope to fill the data gap, as tagging studies generally concentrate on giant bluefin.

| |Illustration: Courtesy of Molly Lutcavage| "We want to know where the fish go," said Molly Lutcavage, a professor at the University of New Hampshire. "We know they can migrate across the Atlantic. This will show us how they go about it."

The archival tags are placed either in the dorsal or the ventral side of the fish and track depth, fish-muscle and water temperatures and light. But in order to record this data, the tags must be retrieved, so the researchers are offering $500 for each archival tag. They would prefer the fish be returned intact with the tag, but if that is not possible, anglers must remove the entire tag. The necessary contact information is printed on the stalk of each tag. Anglers may keep the tagged bluefin — even if it is undersized — without it counting against their daily catch limit.