These cobia and spadefish hatched to help scientists refine the larvae production process and determine nutrition needs. As tagged fish, they will have one last opportunity to contribute to science as they live out their lives in the wild.
The Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program (VGFTP) trained 16 new volunteer taggers on Tuesday March 27 at VIMS. The new “class” of volunteers came from as close as Gloucester and as far away as the Elizabeth City, N.C.
Volunteers in Virginia’s Game Fish Tagging Program tagged more than 19,000 fish in 2011, and on February 24, volunteer anglers who out-tagged their colleagues in any of 12 categories, including most tagged fish overall, most recaptured fish, and most tagged fish of a single species were recognized for their efforts. First place taggers in each category received a plaque, and runners-up received a tackle bucket with fishing gear provided by the Bass Pro Shop.
Watching Dave Conklin cast is poetry in motion. In one smooth movement, his arm circles up and out to the side, zipping the line through the air. Dave’s graceful casting is an achievement, one that he enjoys sharing with other veterans in Project Healing Waters.
"Kayak" Kevin Whitley recently became the first kayak-dedicated angler to achieve Master Angler status in Virginia. Whitley is also notable for his major contributions to the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program.
A cobia caught this June gives fisheries managers hope that the species could be a candidate for stock enhancement. Since its release, the hatchery-raised and tagged fish has three round-trips between the Chesapeake Bay and Florida Keys, doubled in size, and gotten caught at least twice.
“This is a very important recapture,” says Oesterling. “This one fish shows that cobia raised in a tank and fed pellet food will survive and behave as if they were wild fish when they’re released.”