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SPOT (Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting) Tags

Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting (SPOT) tag - for real-time fish tracking

PIER researchers have used Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting (SPOT) tags to track fish in real-time. SPOT tags are secured to a fish’s dorsal fin or tail.  The tag sends a signal to a satellite each time the wet/dry sensor on the tag senses that the fish’s fin is at the surface and out of the water. The satellite can then locate the precise location of the tag (within approximately 350 meters) and send the data via e-mail to the researcher. Using this technology, one can receive daily updates on the exact locations of the tagged fish. The advantage of a SPOT tag over a pop-up satellite tag is that the animal can be tracked actively and more precisely.  

Unfortunately not all fish routinely expose their fins at the surface and long-term tag attachment can be problematic.


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The Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research, PIER, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Oceanside, California.