Ground­break­ing Roost­er­fish Tag­ging

Saltwater Sportsman - - Tod / Casts + Blasts -

The Gray Fish­tag Re­search (GFR) team re­cently com­pleted a his­toric tag­ging ex­pe­di­tion in Costa Rica, dur­ing which elec­tronic archival tags were placed in roost­er­fish for the first time.

The roost­er­fish tag­ging ex­pe­di­tion was a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort also in­volv­ing the Guy Har­vey Ocean Foun­da­tion, Ma­rina Pez Vela, Los Sueños Re­sort and Ma­rina, Crocodile Bay Re­sort, Zan­cudo Lodge, and var­i­ous an­glers and lead­ing sport-fish­ing crews, and it took place off Costa Rica’s cen­tral Pa­cific coast and in Golfo Dulce, near the Pana­ma­nian bor­der.

In July, dur­ing the first phase of the ex­pe­di­tion, the GFR team en­listed the ser­vices of Sea Fly and Sunny One, two char­ter boats out of Los Sueños. On day one, an­gler Jes­sica Har­vey of the Guy Har­vey Ocean Foun­da­tion reeled in the first rooster. GFR sci­en­tist Travis Moore im­planted an elec­tronic tag in the body cav­ity and placed a con­ven­tional tag near the dor­sal be­fore re­viv­ing and re­leas­ing the fish. On day two, the ex­pe­di­tion con­tin­ued off Que­pos aboard Good Day and Hooker out of Ma­rina Pez Vela. Jes­sica Har­vey brought in a larger roost­er­fish, a 46-incher that the GFR team mea­sured, tagged and then watched swim away.

Phase two of the roost­er­fish tag­ging ef­fort took place in early Au­gust. On day one, fish­ing out of Crocodile Bay Re­sort, Moore got in on the ac­tion, pulling a 41-inch rooster off Mat­a­palo Rock at the mouth of Golfo Dulce, to which he im­planted the elec­tronic and con­ven­tional tags. On day two, the ex­pe­di­tion moved to Zan­cudo Lodge, and Zan­cudo’s owner, Gregg Muf­son, joined the team. Sev­eral mid­size roost­er­fish were tagged, and later Muf­son won a tug of war with a large one, al­low­ing the GFR team to record its di­men­sions, tag it and re­turn it to the wa­ter un­harmed. Over the next months and years, the GFR team’s roost­er­fish tag­ging ef­forts are ex­pected to pro­duce valu­able in­for­ma­tion on the mi­gra­tion, habi­tat, feed­ing be­hav­ior and growth rates of the pop­u­lar game fish.

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