My name is Bob Haverkate and I am the Agreements Assistant at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Columbia River Fisheries Program Office. My normal workday duties consist of administering the Grants and other Financial Assistance awards our office provides to Tribes, other agencies, and non-profit organizations. My work is primarily performed at my desk either on my computer or on the telephone.
Once in a while, maybe three or four times a year, I get an opportunity to help out our Marking Crew with a PIT tagging project. I will be working in the field, actually a marking trailer, with no phone, no computer, not a single luxury.I relish a chance to work in the field with other staff that I do not normally work with on a day to day basis.
Today’s task is to implant 6000 PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) radio tags into 6000 juvenile spring Chinook salmon. These tags emit a specific radio code when energized by a PIT tag antenna. Each tag is discreet which enables tracking of each individual fish. (More information on PIT tagging projects and results is available on the CRFPO website.) The tags in this picture are 12mm or .47 inches long.
The first step in the process is placing the tag inside a 12 gauge veterinary hypodermic needle with syringe attached. Each tag has to be placed inside the needle. The needle/syringes are stacked into the trays shown in the background of the photo. The trays are then provided to the person performing the actual tagging of the fish.
The juvenile fish, in this case spring Chinook salmon, are anesthetized prior to tag implantation. The fish shown below are underwater and are gilling (breathing) slowly. They are very much alive and healthy.
Each fish is lifted by hand and the PIT tag is inserted into the abdominal cavity using the syringe.
The fish is then placed in a “lazy river” flowing through the tagging trailer and arrives in the hatchery raceway. The fish recover from the anesthetic quickly and usually show no sign of the PIT tag implanting procedure.
Submitted by Bob Haverkate