Wildlife Computers Develops New sPAT for Halibut

The Pacific halibut is an interesting fish. These mammoths of the sea can reach up to 500 pounds and live on the bottom of the ocean floor.

Recently published research on halibut used a specially designed Wildlife Computers sPAT pop-up tag to study bycatch survival. This tag was designed for a more sedentary species and used accelerometer data as a proxy for survivorship. The sPAT tags provided accelerometry data, temperature, and a wet/dry sensor.

To obtain activity information, sPAT tags were deployed on 10 fish captured with long-line gear in the Bering Sea. Tags were also deployed on four dead halibut and were used to obtain “carcass” data. Six more tags were attached to weights and sent to the seafloor. These tags measured tidal patterns in relation to the weighted tags. “This study confirms that implementing accelerometer-based PSATs can provide direct measurements of Pacific halibut activity without the need to recapture tagged fish.”

We can’t wait for their next research report— “A substantial deployment of these tags on Pacific halibut released from Bering Sea trawlers using expedited release (i.e., deck-sorting) procedures has already been completed and a manuscript describing results has been submitted for publication.”—where 180 tags were deployed and all 180 sPAT tags reported back!

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New sPAT Halibut

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