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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

October 4, 2012

DNR re-launches volunteer Marine Gamefish Tagging Program

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Marine Resources Division’s volunteer tagging program has been re-launched with the hopes of introducing a new generation of anglers to tagging and releasing marine game fish.

Anglers who wish to participate in the tagging program must have a South Carolina saltwater recreational fishing license and have purchased the appropriate tag gun used for inserting tags into select marine game fish.

"I have always been amazed at the dedication of our recreational anglers towards conservation, and the seemingly never ending popularity of tagging and releasing fish as a way to promote catch and release is a testament to that dedication," said Robert Wiggers, a DNR fisheries biologist who administers the tagging program.

Since its inception in 1974, the marine game fish tagging program has been a popular volunteer opportunity for South Carolina’s recreational saltwater anglers. The program has been credited as being one of the driving forces behind fisheries conservation by providing tangible evidence of the benefits of catch and release. Short and long term recoveries of tagged fish demonstrate that a released fish can be caught again. In addition, information provided by recreational anglers through the tagging program has enabled biologists to better understand marine fishery resources.

Over the years the tagging program has experienced some notable recaptures. Most recently (Dec. 2011), the tagging program received national attention with the amazing recovery of a yellowfin tuna. The tuna, which was tagged and released by a program volunteer in April 2001, was recovered off the west coast of Africa in May 2010. At the time of tagging the juvenile yellowfin was just shy of 15 pounds. When it was finally caught again, it weighed 189 pounds. This was the first ever recovery of a yellowfin tuna tagged and released as part of the marine game fish tagging program.

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