[Coral-List] re: Conch Tagging

Glazer, Bob Bob.Glazer at fwc.state.fl.us
Tue Nov 18 09:52:59 EST 2003


We have been tagging conch for years using monel seizing wire (the kind you can get in a marine store for seizing shackles) that is tightened around the spires of the shell.  We slip a uniquely numbered tag through the wire.  The tags can be purchases at National Band and Tag and are 893 Jiffy Size 3 (www.nationalband.com). There is a hole in one end and a tab on the other.  You will need to loop the wire and crimp the tab through the loop to secure the tag to the wire.  The probability of tag loss after 6 months is 0.0006 or 0.06%. They are rustproof.  

Regarding drilling holes, we actually have used an auger to start a hole and used the same monel tag to insert through the hole.  The tag is then crimped as if it were on the ear of a rabbit (which, in fact, is what the tags were designed to do.)  Again, tag loss is very low.  The disadvantages to this methiod are that it is more time consuming and you will wind up chipping shells. When this happens, the conch must expend more energy in shell repair.  Also, it is not effective for older adult conch where the shell is thick.  

I recommend the first method which does not affect growth; we had among the fastest growth reported for conch in the region after they were tagged using this method.  I have attached a picture of a conch being tagged with a similar tag (this one has an aluminum tag for tracking with underwater metal detectors.) 

Good luck

Bob Glazer

Robert Glazer
Associate Research Scientist
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida Marine Research Institute
2796 Overseas Highway, Ste. 119
Marathon, FL 33050
305-289-2334 (fax)
bob.glazer at fwc.state.fl.us
 <<Glazer, Bob.vcf>>  <<aluminum tag on conch.TIF>> 

-----Original Message-----From: bmp [mailto:marinepark at bmp.org]
Sent: Monday, November 17, 2003 4:27 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] conch tagging

Dear all,

My name is Maarten Schuit, I am manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park on Bonaire (N.A.). Currently, I am in the process of setting up a small scale project to determine growth rate and population size of the queen conch that occurs in a lagoon on the East coast of Bonaire, called Lac Bay. Lac Bay is a sandy lagoon and contains seagrass beds and is surrounded by mangroves for the greater part. It is believed to be an important nursery ground for all kinds of marine vertebrates and invertebrates.

However, due to illegal overfishing, the population of conch in Lac Bay is on the brink of collapse. Fishermen are of the opinion that this is not the case. However, the big mountains of conch shell (big old shells on the bottom, small fresh ones on the top) say it all (next to scientific surveys that have been conducted [Lott, 2001]). Also, the fishermen believe a conch can grow from 10 cm into adult conch in a couple of weeks, or at most in a couple months. However, I need to work with them, to be able successfully enforce the laws concerning conch fishery, and more important, to be able to reverse the process of decreasing population sizes.

The good part is, that the fishermen are willing to cooperate in a project involving growth rate and population size. I want, in cooperation with them, conduct a capture, mark and recapture-project. To mark them, I want to drill a little hole in the lip of the shell and place a tag. I do not want this tag to be to big or to influence it's survival chances (or as little as possible). I wondered if anyone has any suggestions to what kind of tag I should use, and where I could purchase these?

Thanks on beforehand.


Oh, and if our fishermen are right, and the conch on Bonaire do grow into adults in a couple of months, I am going to change my job and'll be sending out advertisements via this list for the sell of 'Bonaire's own special conch'! ;^)

Maarten Schuit
Manager Bonaire National Marine Park
PO Box 368
Netherlands Antilles
Tel:  599 7178444
Fax: 599  7177318

Email: marinepark at bmp.org
Homepage: www.bmp.org
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