Groundbreaking Roosterfish Tagging
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.