December 23, 2011 Featured Article Read More →

An Extraordinary Recapture!

Over the last few years the SSTP has brought together tagging data from our own database and historical data from the Glasgow Museum Tagging Programme and the UK Shark Tagging Programme to form a single database of Scottish shark tagging information.

Analysis of this data over the last few weeks has brought one particularly interesting tag and recapture to light.

A female skate, originally tagged by Brian Swinbanks west of the Isle of Mull in 1990 was recaptured a staggering 19 years, 10 months and 14 days later in the Sound of Jura by Ian Burrett!

During this time she had grown from 83lb in weight to 191lb and had travelled a minimum distance of 78.23km (a straight line between the two points of capture).

She was then recaptured a second time in the Sound of Jura by David Murray 9 months and 10 days later, only 5.09km from the point of the second capture. By the time of the second recapture the fish had topped 200lb in weight (shown in the picture above with David).

We spoke to David about the recapture of this fish “The fish was caught aboard “Alien One” on my first Skate trip of the year. Tackle was a Penn Powerstick Stand up IGFA 30 and a Daiwa Sealine 600 reel with 70lb braid.

“The fish came to the boat four times only for the Guy Stewart to miss it (I think on purpose!) and see the fish go straight back to the bottom on two of those occasions and half way on the third, she was finally secured on the fourth!

“At the time the fish was my personal best beating my previous by 1lb.”

Here’s hoping we will see her again soon!

At 7,524 days this recapture represents one of the longest times at liberty of tagged fish using an external dart tag ever recorded. In general the longest times at liberty are recorded in fish with internal tags that are not shed by the fish over time, the longest of which was a male tope tagged in the south Pacific in the 1950’s and recaptured almost 42 years later!

We’d like to say thanks to David for supplying photos of the fish and the story of her recapture.

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