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Origins on the Use of PIT Tags in Fisheries: A Retrospective Video

John Tenney1, Scott Putnam2, Earl Prentice3, Nicole Tancreto1

  1. Pacific States Marin Fisheries Commission, 205 SE Spokane St Suite 100, Portland, OR 97202
  2. Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 3316 16th St, Lewiston, ID 83501
  3. NOAA Fisheries, retired

PIT tags have been used to monitor the movement and behavior of anadromous salmonids in the Columbia River Basin since 1987. This technology has been adopted worldwide to track and identify a wide range of animals and objects in thousands of applications. However, few know the story of how PIT tags were conceptualized and developed for use in the fisheries. In 1980, a NOAA Fisheries researcher was inspired while driving down the road listening to a radio broadcast about a “small tag” that could be implanted into humans as a unique personal identifier. From there, his journey to develop this concept into reality takes many turns as he works with a variety of dedicated people to develop the PIT tag technology and techniques for application that we in the fisheries research industry sometimes take for granted.

This project is narrowly focused on the genesis of PIT tag development for use in fisheries. Unfortunately, given the constraints we have in making this short video, we are unable to acknowledge all of the innovative people that propelled this technology even further into what it has become today. Hopefully, it will inspire additional efforts to describe the complete evolution of modern PIT tag technology, applications, and research presented at this workshop.