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Release of Tagged Salmon 23 April 2004

The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry will next week be releasing over 6,000 young salmon into sections of the Douglas River. Now just over a year old, these young fish have been reared by the Department at its small salmon hatchery.

These salmon are particularly unusual, as they are each carrying a microtag. This is a tiny coded wire tag of approximately 1mm in length, which has been inserted into the fish.

To assist later identification, a small unused fin along the back of the fish (the adipose fin) has been removed. When these fish return as adults to our rivers to spawn, the missing fin will indicate them as being tagged.

It is expected that the majority of these juvenile fish will remain in the Douglas River for another year before migrating out to sea. However a proportion of the larger fish are likely to start making their long journey almost immediately, this spring.

The first adult salmon to return from this batch of hatchery-reared fish are expected to come back to the Douglas River next year as grilse (one sea-winter salmon).

Anglers will be reminded to look out for the absent adipose fin. A small reward will be on offer for the return of tagged fish.

On retrieving the tag, Fisheries Officers will be able to collect valuable information on the life history of these fish and how well they have survived since stocking.

All this information will assist in the better understanding of the status of our local stocks and how they can be improved with the help of the Department.

Release of the tagged salmon is part of a developing initiative into enhancing the stocks of salmon in the rivers of the Island.

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