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Fishermen's Journal

-----------Note: John has moved on to another department within the DFG.  The tagging program has been halted.  It is hoped that another organization/University will continue this study.  As of this writing CharkBait does not have any further information available.

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME
SHARK TAGGING PROGRAM SUMMARY

Provided by John Ugoretz

In 1983, The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) began a tagging program to collect data on local shark species. The purpose of this program was to determine migration, growth, and stock structure patterns. The program currently includes sport anglers and commercial fishermen who voluntarily tag and release sharks. While most of these anglers fish in southern California waters, some fish in the Monterey and San Francisco Bay areas. New taggers are actively recruited through CDFG representation at shark fishing tournaments, sport shows, and other public events. In addition, CDFG and National Marine Fisheries Service biologists jointly conduct several research cruises annually to capture and tag sharks throughout the Southern California Bight. A newsletter is produced annually by project biologists, providing information on the tagging program, the year’s results, and other new information to the volunteer taggers and the general public.

Sharks are tagged at the base of their first dorsal fin using a bright yellow dart tag (Floy FH-69). Each tag is uniquely numbered and labeled with a CDFG return address. Before a tagged shark is released, the date, species, length, sex and tagging location are recorded on a card, which is returned to the Department. The reward of a CDFG Tagging Program baseball cap is given to anyone returning a tag along with information concerning the shark’s movements and growth since it was tagged. This information is also sent to the person who originally tagged the recovered shark.

To date over 10,000 sharks representing 17 species have been tagged. 172 of these sharks have been recaptured. In 1998, 1048 sharks were tagged and 19 recaptured (table 1). The most common sharks tagged and recaptured in California are blue sharks, and shortfin mako sharks. These sharks represent a large portion of the recreational shark fishery in California waters. Evidence has been provided through the Shark Tagging Program supporting a theory that the southern California bight (the waters between Point Conception and the Mexican border) is a nursery area for these sharks.

 

Table 1. Summary of tagged (T) and recaptured (R) sharks 1983-1998.

    1983-97            1998                        Total
Species T    R T R T R
Blue Shark 6523   45 435 4 6958 49
Shortfin Mako Shark 2151 94 523  14 2674 108
Angel Shark 107 6 0 0 107 6
Thresher Shark 80 1 63 1 143 2
Basking Shark 57 0 0  0 57 0
Sevengill Shark 58 6 7 0 65 6
Leopard Shark 33 1 18 0 51 1
White Shark 16 0 0  0 16 0
Soupfin Shark 5 0 0 0 5 0
Spiny Dogfish 4 0 0 0 4 0
Smoothhounds 3 0 0 0 3 0
Other Species 20 0 2 0 22 0
Total: 9057 153 1048 19 10105 172

TAGGING INSTRUCTIONS

To make a tagging stick, drill a 3/16" hole to a depth of 1" in a wood dowel (3/4" to 1" diameter). The dowel should be 5- to 6-feet long. The tip may be epoxied directly into the hole. Another option is to obtain a threaded stainless steel insert (check you local marine hardware) that will match the threads on the tip. Epoxy the insert into the hole. The tip can then be changed as necessary.

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 Mount the tag on the stick as shown above. The slot in the tip is fitted onto the leading edge of the tag’s dart. Attach the trailing end of the tag to the stick with a rubber band to prevent accidental loss.

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Tag the shark in the musculature next to the dorsal fin, above the lateral line. Estimate the length as shown above. "Total Length" is preferred, but fork length is also acceptable.

Scan5sm.jpg (17535 bytes) Determine the sex; male sharks have claspers on their pelvic fins, females do not. Note: It is difficult to see the claspers on small mako sharks, if you cannot clearly tell the sex leave that portion of the tag card blank.  The picture on left is a female.  A male's claspers look like a pair of sausages (we're trying to get a good photo for these...it's coming).

Fill out and mail the tagging report card immediately. The tag is of NO VALUE unless the information is returned promptly.

 

STATE OF CALIFORNIA-THE RESOURCES AGENCY GRAY DAVIS, Governor
DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Marine Region

330 Golden Shore, Suite 50

Long Beach, CA 90802

(562) 590-4801

CALIFORNIA PELAGIC SHARK TAGGING PROGRAM

 

APPLICATION

 

Name ____________________________________________ Age _________

Home Address __________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

(City) (State) (Zip)

Home Phone ___________________ Work Phone ____________________

Fishing Club Affiliations _____________________________________

Do you own a Boat? YES NO

Boat Name _______________________________________ Length ______

How many days per year do you fish for shark? 1-5 6-12 13-50

In what general area do you fish?______________________________

 

Briefly describe your most common fishing technique (i.e. trolling, chumming, etc.)

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

 

List the names of open water sharks you normally catch and can identify on sight:

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

 

Would you be willing to take along a Department of Fish and Game employee for observation? (optional) YES NO

 

BE SURE TO SIGN WAIVER ON THE BACK OF THIS FORM

 

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

(For Department use only)

Approve _________________ Tags issued: SH_________ to SH________

 

NOTE: PARTICIPATION IN THE SHARK TAGGING PROGRAM IS STRICTLY VOLUNTARY. DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME SHARK TAGS ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR PROFIT. PROFIT INCLUDES CHARGING OTHERS FOR USE OF TAGS, USE OF THE TAGGING PROGRAM’S NAME IN ADVERTISING, OR CLAIMING TO REPRESENT THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE BENEFIT OF A BUSINESS. THE ISSUING OF SHARK TAGS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN ENDORSEMENT OF ANY BUSINESS THAT MAY TAG SHARKS IN THEIR OPERATIONS. TAGS ISSUED ARE NOT TO BE TRANSFERRED; THEY MUST BE USED BY THE PERMITTEE THEY ARE ISSUED TO OR ON THE VESSEL UTILIZED BY THAT PERMITTEE.

 

 

WAIVER AND RELEASE

Applicant, upon acceptance of tags for the participation in the California Pelagic Shark Tagging Program, understands and agrees that any tagging effort is strictly voluntary and do hereby on behalf of myself, my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, waive, release, remise and forever discharge the State of California, Department of Fish and Game, their officers, agents and employees, from any and all claims and demands of any kind, nature or character, whatsoever, by reason of my participation in the California Pelagic Shark Tagging Program.

 

This release is expressly intended to cover and include all claims, several or otherwise, past, present or future, which can or may ever be asserted as the result of injuries or damages sustained by me while participating in said program.

 

Signature____________________________________________________Date______________

Applicant


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