Tagging Striped Bass
Acoustic tagging of striped bass
The main hypothesis fort the Striped Bass Project is that different groups (contigents) of striped bass have different migration patterns.
In order to test if the hypothesis is correct or not, researchers are tracking numerous individuals of striped bass over a long period of time. The tags are so called acoustic tags that emit sound waves. Each tag contains a battery which powers a tiny transmitter that emits a series of pulsing sounds. The sounds are ultrasonic and can thus not be heard by the human ear, but hydrophones located at various checkpoints will detect it.
The hydrophones have been placed in the ocean, in the estuary and in the river in the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR). Each time a fish passes close enough, the hydrophone will pick up the sound and radio the information to the central receiving station where a computer identifies, sorts and records the data. Each tag produce a different sound wave pattern, and it is therefore possible to known exactly which fish it regards.
Why is it important to learn more about striped bass migration?
Information regarding the migration patterns of striped bass will help fishery managers to set fishing regulations for various areas. If different groups of striped bass have different migration patterns, it is important to establish regulations that take this into account in order to keep all populations at healthy levels.