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Scientific researchers have implanted data logging devices, called archival tags, in some tunas, billfish and sharks. Pop-up Satellite Archival Tags (PSAT) are externally attached to the fish and can resemble a torpedo (see photo). Sometimes they are internally implanted, and only the light sensor protrudes out of the body. You can recognize a fish with an internal archival tag by unique external streamer tags that are green and white or orange and white. The white portion of the streamer tag reads “electronic tag inside cavity.”
If you catch a fish with an archival tag, do not release it. No matter what fishery closures or other regulations are in effect, you may catch, possess, retain, and land an Atlantic highly migratory species in which an archival tag has been implanted or affixed. Please note that this landing allowance applies only to fish with archival tags, not conventional tags.
If you catch a fish with an archival tag:
- Contact NOAA Fisheries' Cooperative Tagging Program at (800) 437-3936 before or at the time of landing.
- Provide all requested information about the location and how you caught the fish (e.g., gear type). In certain cases, a reward may be offered for recovery of the archival tag, so be sure not to damage the tag.
Additional Information on Tagging Programs
- NOAA Fisheries Apex Predators Program
- Apex Predator Fish Tag Reporting
- Southeast Fisheries Science Center Cooperative Tagging Center
- Large Pelagic Research Lab
- Pelagic GIS Group/New England Aquarium Edgerton Research Lab
- Tuna Research and Conservation Center/Hopkins Marine Station - Monterey Bay Aquarium