No, not hash tags this time but tuna tags.

I’ve been having fun writing a feature story and media release about tuna tagging in the Central and Western Pacific – the biggest tuna fishery in the world.

I was lucky to have access to the colourful journal entries of the tagging cruise leader, Bruno Leroy.

He captured the excitement of the tagging cruise, from stalking anchovies for bait at night to hauling in yellowfin and bigeye tuna on poles and lobbing them deftly over the crew’s heads onto a table for the tagger.

The plastic tag is placed under the dorsal fin and the the fish is released – all in less than 10 seconds. While the fish are biting, the pace is frenzied.

Bruno Leroy releases a tagged tuna

Bruno Leroy releases a tagged tuna - copyright SPC

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (Noumea) offers cash rewards to fishers to return the tags.

The tags help scientists determine where the tuna has travelled from/to and the big picture of whether stocks are at sustainable levels.