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Tagged Burnett River mangrove jack most caught fish

Mangrove Jack
The tagged mangrove jack being measured after it was caught for the 12th time.

A tagged mangrove jack from the Burnett River could be well on its way to becoming the most captured tagged fish in the nation after being caught for the 12th time in one year.

Mangrove jack W71300 was originally tagged by Suntag in March 2019 at 290mm.

Suntag’s Bill Sawynok said it was a fish that volunteers were keeping a close eye on and one that just seemed to love being hooked.

“In just over one year since its initial tag, this mangrove jack has been recaptured 12 times and equals the record for the greatest number of times a Suntag fish has been caught,” he said.

“It's latest recapture was two days ago when it was measured at 360mm.              

“The growth rate of 70mm per year is typical for a mangrove jack that size.”

Bill said the prime purpose of tagging fish was to obtain data on growth and movement.

“When combined with other data in the database, it has many uses including population dynamics and even changes in fish distribution due to climate change and other effects,” he said.

According to Bill, the tagging process was simple.

“The tags are small plastic tubes with an end piece to lock the tag in the fish,” he said.

“An applicator is used to inject the tag into the fish along its back.

“Each tag has an unique number to identify the fish when it is recaptured and when this happens, it can be reported through an 1800 phone number or through the Suntag website.”

Mangrove Jack
A graph showing the growth rate of the tagged mangrove jack.

Bill said Suntag's database was the largest volunteer fisheries database in the world, with over 1.45 million fish records including 930,000 tagged fish and 72,000 recaptures.

That data has been collected over the last 34 years.

“Tagging is particularly useful when carried out over a long period of time as it provides a window into changes that occur over time,” Bill said.

“Understanding fish so that fish stocks are sustainable is a complex business and data obtained from tagging is just one of the ways we can improve our knowledge.”

To find out more about Suntag follow their Facebook page here or visit the website.

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