We were able to get the final 15 archival tags out on small bluefin tuna on Saturday morning, and we topped off the live wells so that 15 fish were aboard swimming in circles below deck. At this point we have archival tagged 112 Pacific bluefin in the past week, and collected 30 live fish for the Tuna Research and Conservation Center. We’ve also placed 7 archival tags in albacore (we stopped tagging albies when I realized how many bluefin were around). This total puts our team at a total of about 550 electronic tags on Pacific bluefin.
Epic. Remarkable. Inspiring. Those are words to describe today, Friday, July 11th aboard the F/V Shogun. I’ve not experienced a day fishing and tagging Pacific bluefin like this since early August of 2002. It's the same place and same ocean, but a long time has passed since the bluefin were biting like this. It is a day you live for as an angler- and as a tuna scientist- the fun of such great action keeps you enthusiastic about what we’re doing forever.
We came in with our full load of bluefin, but unlike years past where we usually unload at Scripps dock, we came right in to Fisherman's Landing. Here Norm pulled the Shogun in as close as he could, and we unloaded each fish individually from the well in a sling of water. The hard part was that we had to walk, and run the fish- 400 feet up a ramp- across the dock- and down a sidewalk to get to the Tunabago truck, that has been built specifically for transporting fish.
The TOPP team is currently onboard the F/V Shogun for our annual tagging and collecting trip. After two days in U.S. waters, we're now fishing in Mexican waters where a very nice showing of tunas occurred. Small bluefin were feeding at the surface in numerous spots. Some are the smallest fish we've seen in years- measuring 63-68 cm- about 5kg fish. We were able to collect 16, tag about 10, and then collect 3 for sampling by Ph.D students doing projects on physiology and ecology.
We've had an exciting day aboard the Shogun. We've been in an area that has some very spectacular schools of small bluefin- exactly what we're looking for. Today was an Audubon special with whales, albatross, jumping bluefin- and albacore- sometimes all around the boat. The bluefin are two year old bluefin- about 15-18 lb fish- perfect for collecting- and placing in wells flowing with seawater below the deck. The bluefin made some spectacular shows- at the surface- aggressively feeding, jumping and exciting all of us. We have not seen such intense surface action in two years.
Our annual tuna tagging and collecting trip has begun aboard the F/V Shogun with Captains Norm & Bruce. We left San Diego on a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon, loaded up with live bait, electronic tags, and sampling gear to study tunas for the next 9 days. Our objectives are to collect small bluefin to bring back to our lab- and to continue the archival tagging of live fish with implantable tags. Together the tuna team at TOPP has deployed over 1000 electronic tags in Pacific bluefin, yellowfin and albacore tunas.
Barb Block, salmon-shark tagging in Alaska. Our last day in Gravina Bay on Friday was spectacular. Every vista was different: Snow peaks and fir trees. Velvety green meadows. In all directions, trees with eagles roosting. We began the day with some quick catches and successful tagging. We were able to put out 4 tags before the weather came in with winds that made drifting a bit tricky. We ended the day with 18 successful tagging events, most sharks with multiple tags.
Barb Block, salmon-tagging in Alaska. Well, yesterday was not the day we shark taggers dream of. It was the day that reminds me why few have done this work before.
Barb Block, salmon-tagging in Alaska. Today in Prince William sound was perfect. I was in the work skiff much of the day.
Barb Block, tagging salmon sharks in Alaska. We arrived in Gravina Bay on Sunday, and begain our operations on Monday to catch salmon sharks.