In April 2012, the Miramichi Salmon Association (MSA), in partnership with the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) tagged 10 large Atlantic salmon kelt with pop-up satellite tags in an effort to help determine where these fish are migrating and feeding when they return to the ocean and where losses are occurring. Nine of the ten tagged salmon left the river for the ocean and if they survived, would return again this summer or most likely, return next year.

Pop-up satellite tag on salmon

Pop-up satellite tag on salmon

Pop-up satellite tags provide a record of where the fish travels and the temperatures and depths they are migrating through as they feed in the ocean. The data is logged hourly in the tag and when the fish dies or the study ends, the tag pops off, floats to the surface and transmits the data to a satellite receiver. The tags however will only pop off in salt water. Thus salmon returning to the river this summer will maintain their tag.

Our receivers have identified one fish as having returned to the Northwest Miramichi. It was picked up at 5:45 pm on Friday July 13th at the Northwest Mill Stream and then again at 6:15 pm at the Cassilis trap net and it is believed to be in the Northwest Miramichi, hopefully holding in a cold water pool.

It is very important to the MSA and ASF to recover the tags and we do have staff searching the river with portable receivers hoping to pick up the transmitter again. There is a chance though that the salmon will be angled, thus we are offering a $200 reward to anyone that returns the tag to us. The tag is large and is attached to the dorsal fin. If you do catch the fish with this device please handle the fish very carefully, remove the device, return the salmon to the river, and contact us at 506.622.4000 to return the tag and collect your reward.

The information collected from pop up tags will help answer the question of where salmon are traveling and the reasons for the low returns of Atlantic salmon back to the Miramichi as well as other river systems in Atlantic Canada. This is a joint project between the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the Miramichi Salmon Association with funding from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund.

1 Comment

  1. Robert Vincik on August 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Very interesting article on the use of PSAT tags for Atlantic Salmon. I would be very interested in the outcome of the study, any followup on tracking data for these 10 fish. We are trying to do something similar in a California waterway, tracking adult Chinook salmon as they negotiate a river.
    Any information would be greatly apprecieated.

    Regards,
    Robert Vincik
    California Department of Fish and Wildlife
    North Central Region.

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