Scott Alford, a Houston lawyer, and an avid tarpon angler is working on generating funding to purchase 2,000 streamer tags, get them into the hands of tarpon anglers and fishing guides, and set up an online reporting site and database for tagging information and reporting tag recoveries.
The tags are short, hollow plastic tubes that have identifying number and contact/reporting information printed on them.
Cooperating anglers and guides can stash a supply of the easy-to-use tags on their boats and use them when they catch and release a tarpon.
Alford has also been involved in the PAT (pop-off archival transmitting tag), an electronic device about the size and shape of a fat cigar with a golf ball stuck on its head that sends signals to a satellite which relays the information to a collection center.
Information gathered through the PAT tags has provided evidence the Gulf’s tarpon are generally divided into two populations. One population lives in the eastern Gulf and migrates each spring/summer from Florida to near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
The western Gulf population ranges between southern Mexico and the Mississippi River, migrating up the coast in spring and summer and back toward Mexican waters in late autumn.
More information on the tagging project can be found at projecttarpon.com.