The 2nd annual iTAG (integrated tracking of aquatic animals in the Gulf of Mexico) meeting concluded on October 30, 2015 after two productive days of scientific talks and group discussion centric to building an effective telemetry network in the Gulf of Mexico. The theme of the meeting was 'Telemetry in the 21st Century: New methods and applications to fisheries management', with the topics highlighted in the idea blocks below.
Led by a steering committee with affiliations in state and federal governments as well as academia, eighty scientists from throughout the Gulf gathered at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) in Saint Petersburg in a concerted effort to discuss how best to develop acoustic infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico which would allow for tracking animals at the Large Marine Ecosystem scale and integrating this emerging technology into fishery independent methods of monitoring fishery resources. Currently, members of iTAG have a total of ~2,200 animals tagged with 1,062 receivers throughout Gulf waters.
To help increase connectivity of receivers in these discrete areas, the Canadian-based Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) is loaning a substantial amount of acoustic receivers and expertise for a variety of projects throughout the Gulf, as they do for other research initiatives throughout the world’s oceans. Ultimately, this research and network will help to improve our understanding of animal migration corridors, assess the impacts of environmental disasters and help manage the sustainability of the Gulf and its species, especially those that are commercially important or protected or endangered.
A special thank you to the generous meeting sponsorship from industry and partners Vemco, GCOOS, SECOORA, and Lotek. For more information and updates, visit the iTag Facebook page.