Striped Bass Tagging Program
The Division of Marine Fisheries is conducting a long-term study of the movements and migration of NC estuarine striped bass, Morone saxatilis, through mark – recapture methods. Program objectives include determining the movements and migration of striped bass as well as estimating fishing and natural mortality of striped bass using mark – recapture methods.
Adult striped bass are tagged throughout the year in numerous NC coastal waters. Juvenile striped bass (5 – 8 inches) that are stocked in various nursery habitats throughout NC are also tagged prior to release. The tag is a yellow or pink, internal anchor streamer tag, and is located on the left side of the fish just behind the pectoral fin. The tag carries a legend stating a reward is offered for the return of the tag or tag number, and includes the DMF address in Morehead City.
What to do if you encounter a tag:
We encourage all anglers who encounter tagged striped bass to return the tag or tag number. It is only through the tags that are reported and the supporting information provided by cooperating fishermen that we can collect the data necessary for this program to succeed.
If you harvest a tagged fish, please cut the tag off the fish as close to the body as possible. If you plan to release the fish, do not try to remove the tag by pulling it out of the fish, as this will result in probable mortality of the fish. For fish that you plan to release, you may record the tag number and other information, and release the fish with the tag intact. This allows multiple recaptures of the same fish. If the tag number is not legible, cut the tag off the fish as close to the body as possible and return the streamer portion of the tag to DMF Elizabeth City office. A Tag Reporting Form may be printed and mailed to the DMF Elizabeth City office, at 1367 US 17 South, Elizabeth City, NC 27909. Tags may also be reported by calling Kim Hewitt at the DMF Elizabeth City office (800-338-7805 or 252-264-3911).
Information desired along with the tag or tag number includes: the capture location, (waterbody and nearest landmark), date of capture, gear used in capture, total length of fish (length from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail), if the fish was harvested or released, and if the tag was removed or left intact. We also require personal contact information to deliver rewards. Choice of reward is either a striped bass tagging program hat or $5 ($5 requires social security number). A letter will also be mailed to anyone returning tags, stating where and when the tagged fish was released, days at large, distance traveled, and the length of the fish when it was released.
Click here to view the Summary Maps of North Carolina Striped Bass Tagging Programs.
For further information on this program, contact Sean Darsee (Sean.Darsee@ncdenr.gov) or by phone: 800-338-7805 or 252-264-3911.
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