We marked hatchery-reared striped bass Morone saxatilis (145-265 mm total length) with internal anchor tags and monitored retention for 28 months after stocking in the Savannah River, Georgia and South Carolina. Anchor tags (with an 18-mm, T-shaped anchor and 42-mm streamer) were surgically implanted ventrally, and coded wire tags (1 mm long and 0.25 mm in diameter) were placed into the cheek muscle to help identify subsequent recaptures. The estimated probability of retention (SD) of anchor tags was 0.94 (0.05) at 4 months, 0.64 (0.13) at 16 months, and 0.33 (0.19) at 28 months. Of 10 fish recaptured with only coded wire tags, 5 showed an externally visible wound or scar near the point of anchor tag insertion. The incidence of wounds or scars, which we interpreted as evidence of tag shedding, increased to 50% in recaptures taken at 28 months (three of six fish). Our estimates for retention of anchor tags were generally lower than those in other studies of striped bass, possibly because of differences in the style of anchor or sizes of fish used. Because of its low rate of retention, the type of anchor tag we used may not be suitable for long-term assessments of stock enhancement programs that use striped bass of the sizes we evaluated.
Additional publication details
Retention of internal anchor tags by juvenile striped bass