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Tagging Bluefin Tuna South of Martha’s Vineyard

We’ve got large school and small/medium bluefin. We’re putting these satellite transmitters
in them and following their movement for about 30 days and we’re seeing if they survive or
not. I’ve got color right here gentlemen. Hi folks Captain Mike Hogan here from Salty
Cape. Today we have Willy Goldsmith of Virginia
Institute of Marine Science and Captain Shaun Ruge from Riptide Charters. Today we’re fishing flat calm conditions south
of Martha’s Vineyard for slow-cruising subsurface bluefin tuna using topwater soft plastics. So the mission today is to place satellite
tags in as many bluefin tuna as we can land. They’re gonna come up, they’re gonna come
up, they’re gonna come up. Look at that bait popping! All happy. That’s why they like those paddle tails, they
have the perfect profile. Right there, see them goin, goin. Look at it right there, we’re gonna get em! Nice shot. Willy just led those fish perfectly. He’s just gonna retrieve it. Nice! Nice fish! Yeah! Willy’s hooked up. Willy, you did that perfectly. We came up on those fish. You didn’t plunk the lure right into those
fish, you cast just ahead of the school and you led the school to your lure. One vectored off and just drilled it. That is textbook how to sight cast for bluefin
tuna on Cape Cod. That’s just awesome. It’s about a 50+ inch fish. We’re gonna put a satellite tag in it and
follow its movements for 30 days. Alright I’m there. 53 inches. I’m gonna pop the satellite tag into its dorsal
fin. Make sure it locks in nice and tight. Surface temperature is 70 degrees. Calm, calm. Hogy. Satellite tag planted at 12:25. One chapter of my PhD research looks at post-release
survival of atlantic bluefin tuna in the recreational fishery here on the east coast. Anglers are currently allowed to keep 1 fish
per day per boat between 47″ and 73″ and I want to see if fish are surviving after we
let them go. We’re outfitting these fish with pop-up satellite
archival tags which report environmental data for 30 days before popping off the fish, floating
to the surface and transmitting their data via satellite. I can then retrieve it and determine whether
or not they survived after we’ve let it go. My goal in the study is to deploy 20 satellite
tags on bluefin tuna caught in the recreational fishery. By doing this, I’ll be able to determine whether
or not fish survive and how many fish survve after they’re caught be recreational anglers. So far, I’ve deployed 10 of these tags. Data from all 10 indicate that the fish survived
after release. We do however need to deploy another 10 tags
in order to have a more precise estimate of post-release survival in this fishery. They’re right there too. This is awesome. Look at these fish. Man I love this. I’m just gonna idle up on these fish. This calm water is so easily spooked. You want to get a presentation so when you
cast you pull the bait away from the school to see if 1 or 2 will follow and come and
eat it. I’m bit! Willy’s hooked up. We’ve got color here Mike. 2 tags. I’ve improved my sample size by 20%. Nice. Two tags. Man I love fishing. It’s very important, I want these things to
be around for my kids. This is just great. I agree. I think you know a lot of us scientists are
also recreational fishermen who are invested in the fishery, not only from a career perspective
but from a recreational standpoint. We love being out here and we love working
with you guys to get this research done. That’s really cool.

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