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Tag Collection Now Also For Philippine Tuna Fishers

To help an international group maintain its tracking projects for marine fish species, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Cagayan Valley has appealed to fishermen to surrender tags found on fish.

“Before fishermen rush their catch to the wet markets or before housekeepers gut their fish for the dining table, we urge them to surrender to the BFAR office or to the local government units any tag found in fish, particularly on big eye, skipjack, yellow fin tuna or other marine fish, as these are part of scientific studies,” BFAR regional director Jovita Ayson said.

The tuna species are called tangi or
Ayson said three multinational projects on fish tagging are currently underway, and the Philippines is a participant.

Foremost is the Tuna Tagging in the Western and Central Pacific, spearheaded by the Oceanic Fisheries Programme (OFP) under the Secretariat of the Pacific Community based in New Caledonia and funded by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

The National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) is the lead agency for the project and two other similar activities.

According to the OFP, placing tags on tuna would “provide better information on fishery-exploitation rates and population sizes in Western and Central Pacific. The data to be gathered will allow the improvement of regional stock assessment for the big eye, skipjack and yellow fin species.”

The project gives a $10-reward for a yellow tag, $50 for a green tag and $250 for an orange tag. The green and orange tags are connected to a device inserted in the body cavity of the fish near the abdomen. The tag is attached to the back of the fish near the second dorsal fin.

Recently, fisherman Rodrigo Dayaca of Camiguin Island in the municipality of Calayan, this province, was awarded P900 by the BFAR for surrendering a tagged yellow fin tuna caught along the dormant Didicas island-volcano.

The tagged tuna came from a project of the National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries, Fisheries Research Agency, Japan.

The 76-centimeter fish weighed 6.7 kilograms. Data from the NFRDI showed that the fish, bearing two yellow tags numbered F1131 & F1132, was released in southern Japan last April with a body length of 41

The OFP says anyone who gets hold of a tagged tuna should record its fork length—upper jaw to the fork in the tail—and date and place of recapture.  The OFP adds that extra care should be taken in handling the inserted devices.

Apart from the tuna-tagging projects, a similar effort in tracking other species is also being undertaken by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center involving small pelagics, particularly alumahan (Japanese mackerel), hasa-hasa (short-bodied mackerel, Indian mackerel) and galunggong (round scad).

Apart from the Philippines, other participating countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

According to the NFRDI, 2,400 pieces of the said fish species were tagged by country-participants and released at a predetermined area and date.

Results of the study would serve as reference for a comprehensive plan toward the conservation of the fish species.