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Subject: Responses to Irresponsible Fish Tagging
From: Darren Cameron <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 6 Apr 1998 12:02:09 +1000

text/plain (119 lines)

To interested list subscribers,
Please find as following 4 responses received regarding my request
concerning existence and wording of legislation that prohibited the tagging
and release of fish for other than research or scientific purposes.

I'd like to thank those persons who took the time out to respond, but
unfortunately little information on specific legislation related to this
topic was forthcoming.  I reiterate that I was refering to a member of the
public catching by angling methods, tagging and then releasing the fish
with the advertisment tag.  If anybody can provide with evidence of a
successful prosecutions of damage to "fish" by a public person under animal
ethics or other legislation, please let me know.

The only avenue in legislation being investigatied at the moment was the
member of the public was "capturing fish for trade or commerce without the
appropriate authority."

Responses were as follows:

In New South Wales (Australia), strict legislation exists regarding
the ethical use of animals in experiments. This currently covers all
vertebrates, and includes field observation studies where animals may
be disturbed by the presence of an observer. Tagging definitely
requires ethical approval. The issue in the case reported is whether
the advertising tagging was performed for experimental purposes. The
legislation would need close examination, but I suspect this form of
tagging would fall within the definition of experimentation, and
would therefore require approval. Otherwise it would be unethical and
illegal in this State.

Peter C. Gehrke
Email: [log in to unmask]

I am a PhD student in Quebec (Canada). Since this list is available
around the world, i think my input is also valuable. During my master's
thesis, we had to catch and handle fish to measure and weight them. Just
to have the right to use a littoral seine and handle (not sacrifice them
or tagg them) non-sport valuable fish such as pumpkinseed or cyprinids,
we needed a permit from the government and give a report on our catch
(lakes, numbers catched). It's a scientific permit we had in our pocket
at all time specifiying we were not allowed to keep valuable fish
(salmonids, smallmouth and largemouth bass, pikes) and if we catched
one, we had the obligation to release it in a proper way as soon as we
were finished with handling (taking scales and length if it was
appropriate for our research objectives). If it died, we were not even
allowed to
keep it. There is no way somebody can use a trap to catch sport fish and
tag them for advertising purposes without having the wildlife service
knowing (or it's illegal behaviour).I hope it's the same thing in the US
and in Australia!

Nadia Aubin-Horth
[log in to unmask]

Hi!  A friend passed this on to me and I thought that I could give you a
holistic perspective. I work for a private consulting firm in the United
States.  We have been in business for 25 years and have been conducting
fisheries studies in various capacities throughout that time period.  The
reason that I believe that I could give you a holistic perspective is that
we have conducted fisheries studies throughout the United States, in
Hawaii, on Puerto Rico, and in Canadian waters.  Many of these involved
tagging.  For studies involving tagging we AT LEAST had to have a
scientific collection permit whenever we were removing fish from a natural
waterbody and tagging them.  In most cases we had to have special
permission to tag and the numbers had to be reported to the local
permitting agency.  In a couple of states, resource agents had to be on
site for tagging activities and in one state (Montana) the resource agent
insisted on doing the actual tagging.  In the US, some states actual
provide the tags for tagging studies so that they can be tracked.  In other
states, tags could be bought privately from the manufacturer, but the
number and type applied to each species had to be reported with the
collection report.  Commercial fisherman in some states have special tags
that are used on harvested fish to control the numbers of certain species
collected within a given period (limit or creel tags).  These are only
applied to harvested individuals (i.e. not released).

The rules are a little different for aquaculture facilities where fish are
artificially raised and released.  I am not the best to speak on those
issues.  From the few that I've dealt with I know that they generally
purchase tags privately, but are still required to report the numbers to
the state resource agents when the fish are released into public waterways.
It sounds to me like the situation that you described involved capturing
wild/stocked fish from public waterways and tagging them.  Without a
scientific collection and/or specific permission to tag, it wouldn't fly in
this country.   In fact, in the states that I work in most, the perpetrator
would probably be fined for violating the limitations of their recreational
fishing license and perhaps even "willfully causing harm to fish, game, or
wildlife that are not being harvested for sustenance"; where I live, that
is punishable by both a fine and perhaps even time in jail (for repeat

Jane Boraczek
[log in to unmask]

I strongly oppose to that! This is unethical. Exploitation of
wildlife or natural resources is tolerable but not this. They cant protest,
but we can.... of course "on their behalf".

In Malaysia, I think there is no law against that (I am not sure). I am
shocked that this exist in more developed countries like Australia.
Please raise the issue to your local government on this & to the public
to boycott the company/products. Make the them (companies that uses this
means of advertising) know that the public will response negatively to
this - to prevent other company following this trend.
patrick lee
[log in to unmask]


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