Field Work Update Digital Tagging of




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Field Work Update

Digital Tagging of Hucho Taimen

Sponsored by


In Collaboration with

Taimen Conservation Fund & Sweetwater Travel



Principal Investigators: Marcy Kamerath, Dr. Sudeep Chandra, Dr. Zeb Hogan, and Brant Allen
Field Crew: Marcy Kamerath, Jessica Saenz
Background

The aim of this project is to develop a photographic method to improve conservation of the Hucho taimen. It is believed that the spotting patterns on the face of the Hucho Taimen are unique. Thus it is thought by cataloguing and analyzing these images, the fish can be tracked over time. Photographs taken by fishermen, i.e. Sweetwater Travel guides and guests will populate a database that could be used to estimate population size and status using Mark-recapture models, a common tool in population biology studies. Mark-recapture models can estimate Hucho Taimen population size and survival rates in years when fish photographs and catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) data co-occur. This photographic tracking, i.e. digital tagging, technique has been used to successfully track endangered whale sharks in marine environments using photograph identification software called I3S. This project is the first known application of digital tagging in a freshwater system and opens the door to novel, cost-friendly conservation methods for the endangered Hucho Taimen.


Field Work

Marcy Kamerath and Jessica Saenz were funded by National Geographic Society to complete field work at Sweetwater Travel’s upper fly fishing camp in the EgUur watershed area (EUWA) from 15 to 28 Sep 2009. Their two-week stay was supported by Taimen Conservation Fund employees, Amaraa, Bodikhand, Chimga, and Puji. During their stay the following were accomplished:



  1. Daily CPUE data for H. Taimen were gathered by interviewing Sweetwater guides. Mean CPUE was 0.73  0.70 H. taimen per rod-hour.

  2. Twenty-nine digital tags (face photographs) were collected; 8 B.lenok, 21 H. taimen.

  3. Length and girth data were taken for each H. taimen that was digitally tagged by the science team.

  4. A presentation was given to Sweetwater Travel clients explaining project goals and methods. As a result, clients collected ten additional H. taimen face photographs for the science team.

  5. Sixteen additional H. taimen were tagged with yellow Floy tags. (See Table 1)

  6. Five Floy tagged H. taimen were recaptured. Of these, four were digitally tagged. The recapture rate in Fall 2009 was 9.3%; this includes only digitally tagged individuals.

  7. Amaraa, a TCF employee, was taught how to use I3S. A computer and the I3S software were provided to TCF to promote continuation of the digital tagging program beyond this projects duration.

To date, historical photos of H. taimen faces have been gathered from previous trips at the upper camp and will be digitized. Catch-per-unit-effort and tagging data have been gathered for spring and fall of 2009 and will be compared in the final scientific report. A subset of fish photos has been digitally tagged using I3S. Photographs of previously tagged fish will be used to examine if spot-patterns change over time, thus how this application may or may not be limited to certain age ranges of H. taimen.

The final report will be provided to Taimen Conservation Fund, and will include an organized database of digitally tagged H. taimen photographs, with identification results from I3S. This report should be completed by 1 May 2010.

Marcy and Jessica from the science team would like to express their gratitude to those at Hovsgol Travel, Sweetwater Travel, and Taimen Conservation Fund for all of their support during this project.




Table 1. New Floy tag numbers and location of tagged fish for the Fall 2009 fishing season. Fin clips were not taken.

FLOY_CODE

FLOY_color

SPECIES

DATE

Total-Length_in

GIRTH_in

RIVER

LOCATION

COLLECTOR

3606

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/17

31

12.0

Uur

Hole in the wall; UTM 0700944 5593964

Jessica and Gana

3609

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/23

34

13.0

Uur

Below Charlies pringles; UTM 0708086 5588701

Jessica and Gana

3610

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/25

37.5

15.0

Eg

UTM 704868 5573068

Marcy and Charlie

3611

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/25

24

9.0

Eg

UTM 705759 5574030

Marcy and Charlie

3614

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/26

39

 

EgUur

Eg mouth; UTM 709979 5573532

Charlie

3615

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/26

36

 

EgUUr

Eg mouth; UTM 709979 5573532

Charlie

3616

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/27

32

12.0

EgUur

Eg mouth; UTM 709979 5573532

Jessica and Charlie

3617

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/27

31

12.0

Eg

1st road hole; UTM 706512 5574062

Jessica and Charlie

3653

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/20

33.0

12.0

EgUur

Upper; UTM 700873 5593984

Marcy and Gana

3654

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/21

32

12.0

EgUur

Black Hole UTM 707288 5585818

Marcy and Gana

3655

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/23

31

12.0

Eg

Vladi's Pool UTM 694754 5567350

Marcy and Charlie

3656

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/23

29

11.0

Eg

UTM 696988 5569411

Marcy andCharlie

3657

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/24

26

 

Uur

Seis pescas; UTM 706937 5590333

Ganaa

3658

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/27

32

13.0

Uur

UTM 696562 5593697

Marcy and Gana

3659

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/27

33

14.0

Uur

UTM 700896 5593976

Marcy and Gana

3660

yellow

Hucho taimen

2009/09/27

35

13.5

Uur

UTM 700896 5593976

Marcy and Gana


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