NSW DPI Game Fish Tagging Program
The NSW DPI Game Fish Tagging Program of Australia is the largest saltwater tagging program of its kind in the world and has been in operation since 1973. It is used to obtain information on the biology (distribution, movement, growth, exploitation) of billfish, tunas, sharks and sport fish and encourages game fishers to participate in the management of the fishery. Watch this video clip.
Since the program commenced over 410,000 tag cards have been returned and over 7000 fish recaptured. Of the 60 species recognised by the Game Fishing Association of Australia (GFAA) it has been found that 10 species of fish tagged by the NSW DPI Game Fish Tagging Program account for 70% of all fish tagged.
These species include:
- Black marlin
- Yellowfin tuna
- Yellowtail kingfish
- Mahi Mahi (Dolphinfish)
- Mackerel tuna
- Striped marlin
- Striped tuna
Tags are issued to anglers and when an angler catches, tags and releases a fish, the details of the capture are recorded on a tag card with the corresponding tag number. The card is returned to the NSW DPI in Sydney, Australia. When a tagged fish is recaptured, catch information is linked to the original tag and release and compared to the recapture information. Details of the distance that the fish travelled and its growth are sent to the anglers who first tagged the fish and later recaptured it. A recapture certificate is also issued.
The tagging data is used by scientists to study the lives and habits of these highly mobile fish species. The migratory habits of the tagged fish are observed by measuring the distance and direction travelled between tagging and recapture, and this can be linked with environmental factors. Growth patterns are also monitored. The observations also enable scientists to study the structure of fish stocks and assess whether there is any mixing between populations that are geographically distant from one another. This information is vital to improve the understanding and management of valuable game and sport fish species.
- Our data has been used in the following paper: Dispersal of Adult Black Marlin (Istiompax indica) from a Great Barrier Reef Spawning Aggregation
Contact the program
If you would like to contact the game fish tagging program either to obtain further information on the program, tags, or to report a recapture directly, please get in touch.
The home location of the tagging program has recently been re-located to Nowra. The previous Cronulla (and interim Silverwater) address on tagging cards will still reach us. However, if you wish to mail tags directly or contact the tagging program directly the mailing address is:
NSW DPI, LMB 3020, NOWRA NSW 2541
Phone 02 4424 7423 or international +61 2 4424 7423
You may also report the recapture of a tagged fish using the on-line form: