Preliminary evaluation of the effectiveness of visible implant elastomer and coded wire tags for tagging young-of-the-year Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus

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The aim of the study was to determine the retention rates of visible implant elastomer (VIE) and coded wire tags (CWT) and the impact tagging had on the growth of Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus Mitchill, during an eight-week rearing period under laboratory conditions. Two size groups of young-of-the-year (YOY) sturgeon were used in the study. The tagging was not found to have a significant impact on the final total length or body weight or the condition coefficient of the sturgeon from either size group. Sturgeon survival in the different groups ranged from 90.6 to 100%. Mortality was not noted until two (CWT) and four (VIE) weeks following tagging and was probably not linked to tagging. The retention rate for VIE tags implanted in the rostrum in both size groups was 100%, while for tags implanted at the base of the pectoral fin was 93.5%. The retention of CWT in the smaller fish was 90%, and in the larger sturgeon it was 100%. Tagging small sturgeon with CWT and VIE is minimally invasive, and it did not impact the growth or condition of the tagged fish.

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