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December 8, 2008

DNR will continue processing fish tags

Although fish tags supplied to certified taggers participating in the Marine Resources Division’s Marine Game Fish Tagging Program will be unavailable this winter as a result of state budget cuts, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will continue to process tags that have already been supplied to taggers, as well as the recapture of any tagged fish that are encountered by anglers.

Tagging is a common tool used by fisheries scientists and managers to better understand population dynamics of specific fisheries. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently has a number of research projects that employ a tagging component, addressing everything from red drum to billfish.

The Marine Game Fish Tagging Program was the only program that relied on the public (or fishery) to implant tags and report associated information. Other agency programs involve tagging that is done by DNR personnel to address specific research issues. Regardless of the type of tagging study being conducted, all rely on the cooperation of the public to report encounters of tagged animals. Reporting tag recoveries helps to complete the circle of information necessary for developing conclusions based on analysis.

While budget cuts have limited the amount of funds available to supply the volunteer tagging effort, fishery independent studies being done by DNR staff continue to tag and release a variety of species as part of ongoing research funded through non-state appropriated sources, such as federal grants. Anglers who catch tagged fish should report that information via the toll-free number 1-888-Tags-4-SC (1-888-824-7472). Releasing a tagged fish with the tag still intact is strongly encouraged as this allows for the possibility of acquiring additional data should the fish be recaptured multiple times.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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