PIT-tagging method for small fishes: A case study using sandeel ( Ammodytes tobianus )

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Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags are commonly used to assess fish movement for use in fisheries management. Here, we investigated physiological and behavioral effects of tagging on sandeels (Ammodytes tobianus) using PIT tags constituting 2.1 ± 0.9% of their body weight. Swimming stamina (RSS), calculated as time spent swimming against the current relative to total swimming time, and tail beat frequency were compared between tagged and untagged fish as was blood hematocrit levels at 7, 14, and 42 d post-tagging. Survival and tag retention were also documented at 14, 42, and 84 d (via x-rays and dissections). RSS was not different between tagged and untagged fish with means (± SD) of 60 ± 9% and 61 ± 12%. Tail beat frequency was not different between tagged and untagged fish at 2.8 ± 0.3 and 3.0 ± 0.4 beats s−1 for tagged and untagged fish, respectively. Likewise, hematocrit was not affected by tagging and levels were between 21–26% for both groups. Survival rates were high and did not differ between groups (96% for tagged and 99% untagged fish). Tag retention was 100%. X-rays and dissections did not reveal any signs of tag movement at 14–84 d, and there was no difference between relative positions of the tags. None of the tags were encapsulated in the body cavity after 14 d, whereas 40 and 56% of the tags were encapsulated in a thin tissue membrane between the intestine and kidney after 42 and 84 d, respectively. After 14 d all incisions had healed with only minor or no signs of the tag insertion site. Collectively, these data provide substantial evidence for the possibility of conducting large-scale tagging studies on this species in the field
Original languageEnglish
JournalFisheries Research
Pages (from-to)95-103
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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