Fish Tagging

Tagged California Sheephead

Marine Protected Areas and the Management of Nearshore Fishes

The goal of this program is to work collaboratively with commercial fishermen to gather data on the population status of important fish species at the northern Channel Islands, and evaluate the potential to incorporate reserves into fisheries management scenarios. The southern California nearshore live fish fishery is primarily composed of individual fishermen working from small boats using traps and set hook gear in waters less than 40 m. Fishermen capture and sell fish live to specialty markets where they demand a high price for their freshness.

We are conducting a mark and recapture study inside and outside of 5 marine protected areas (MPAs): Anacapa (1978 and 2003), Gull Island (Santa Cruz Island), Carrington Point and South Point (Santa Rosa Island) and Judith Rock (San Miguel Island) at the northern Channel Islands. All fishing is conducted onboard commercial fishing vessels and UCSB research vessels (R/V Connell - 26ft. Anderson, and a 15 ft. skiff). Using commercial trap and set hook gear, we measure and tag all fish we encounter using individually numbered plastic t-bar tags and return the fish to the exact location of capture. In order to compare information inside and out of reserves we fish on reefs that share similar habitat complexity and historical fishing pressure. Through the analysis of the mark and recapture data, we are addressing a number of important questions critical to the management of these stocks.

What to do if you catch a tagged fish

Should you catch a tagged fish, please measure its length, take GPS coordinates or nearest landmark where it was caught and record tag number. Report this information to (805) 893-5054. Please leave your contact information so that we can reach you with questions and a $10 reward.

Contact Information

If you have any questions concerning this research, please contact Jono Wilson.

Jono Wilson
Phone: (805) 893-5054
Email: jonowilson@bren.ucsb.edu

Project Timeline

Tagging activities began in Summer 2007 and are ongoing.


California Ocean Protection Council