PIT Tagging System For Salmon - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

PIT Tagging System For Salmon

UMATILLA, Or.,--McNary Dam in Umatilla is home to the Army Corps. of Engineers as well as many environmental researchers, many of whom study the evolution of Salmon. With the help of a Pit Tagging system, once these juvenile fish are captured, the implanted devices can better help researchers understand migration timing, growth rates, as well as if the fish are being harmed traveling out of the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

"They can track the life of a Chinook {shi-nook} or Steelhead from birth to death," said Rosanna Tudor, Biologist II.

One of the areas salmon are tested is in the Smolt Monitoring room. Here, biologists from the Washington Department of Fishery, identify one-by-one the species, weight, and any signs of possible injury. By using a pit tag scanner, researchers know if the fish has previously been tagged or not. These little tags are inserted into the abdominal cavity.. And last until death. Biologist Brad Eby, says prior to pit tagging, researchers had a much more difficult job understanding the lifespan of salmon.

"In order to track a lot of fish, you had to mark quite a few hundred thousand more in order to expect to recapture some," said Eby.

Aside from pit tagging, blood chemistry tests are also conducted, telling researchers if the blood water levels are balanced-ensuring salmon's ability to adapt to salt water.