(Nov. 17, 2014) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana honored volunteer fish taggers during their annual Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program’s awards banquet on Thursday, November 6 at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette, La.
The program relies on a group of volunteers who dedicated nearly 3,200 hours to fish tagging efforts this year. The event honored those volunteers who tagged 20 or more fish during the season, which ran from July 2013 to September 2014.
Nearly 26,000 fish were tagged, more than doubling the amount of fish tagged in the previous season. The increased number of tagged fish can be attributed to more than 700 volunteers who tagged at least one fish during that timeframe.
“The tagging program is only possible because of the anglers who volunteer their time to fish, tag, collect, and report data,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “We’re very lucky to have such an extraordinary group of volunteers who contribute to this important source of recreational fisheries data.”
Program officials recognized 57 volunteer anglers who out-competed their colleagues as members of the Century Club by tagging more than 100 fish during the season.
Women and youth participation in the program is also growing in popularity. In recognition of their efforts, 24 women and youth anglers were awarded prizes during the event.
Top Fish Taggers include:
Tagger of the Year - Dr. Victor Tedesco, III
Most Tagged Fish Overall (1,574)
Most Tagged Fish Recaptured (77)
Most Volunteer Hours (446.5)
Most Tagged Redfish
1st Place - Donna Dearman (663)
2nd Place - Jeff Bavar (657)
3rd Place - Andre Thomas (526)
Most Tagged Speckled Trout
1st Place- Dr. Victor Tedesco, III (1,308)
2nd Place - Larry Shields (521)
3rd Place - Diane and Norman Norton (359)
Most Tagged Red Snapper
1st Place - Andre Thomas (43)
2nd Place - Mike Patrick (27)
3rd Place - Tommy Moore (23)
Fish tagging can provide a wealth of information, including data on migration patterns, growth rates, and population size. Since the program began in the 1980s, nearly 183,000 fish have been tagged and of those over 5,700 have been recaptured.
“One exciting thing we’ve learned through taggers’ data is most fish are recaptured very close to their original tagging location, explained Pausina. “One redfish in particular was tagged, released, and then recaptured a record 4 times – all near the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab in Grand Isle, La. In fact, only about 2 percent of tagged red drum and spotted seatrout are recaptured more than 50 miles from the location where they were originally tagged and released.”
The Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program is a cooperative effort between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, universities, non-profit organizations and volunteer anglers. Program goals include educating anglers on fisheries management and conservation and opening communication between researchers and anglers.
LDWF urges interested saltwater anglers to join the program. Tagging kits and program materials are provided at no charge. For more information about the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program, contact us by calling 1-800-567-2182, via Facebook at www.facebook.com/tag/louisiana or email Fishtags@wlf.la.gov.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 721-0489.