MOREHEAD CITY – The Division of Marine Fisheries has awarded $100 to each of 15 individuals, including several coastal North Carolina residents, in a yearly drawing to reward participants in its multi-species fish tagging program that helps researchers.
The division said it had randomly selected tag numbers from more than 664 fish tags that were turned in by program participants in 2021. Three tag numbers were selected from each of the five species that are tagged by the program.
The $100 winners who turned in tags from cobia were Cole Flippin of Hayes, Virginia, Kate Wessling of Manassas, Virginia, and Shawn Ingram of Westminster, Maryland.
The $100 winners who turned in tags from red drum were Charles Neal of Newport, Rachel Herrmann of Wilmington, and Bridgett Lockhart of Jacksonville.
The $100 winners who turned in tags for striped bass were Arthur Leary of Lowland, Timothy Purvis of Raeford, and Chris Bower of Raleigh.
The $100 winners who turned in tags for southern flounder were Vince Emory of Cedar Island, Brian Edwards of Grifton, and Thomas Ferrell of Harkers Island.
The $100 winners who turned in tags from spotted seatrout were Todd Mitchum of Winterville, James Mitchell of Kill Devil Hills, and Kristina Watts of Amherst, Virginia.
The Multi-Species Tagging Program began in October 2014 and is funded by a Coastal Recreational Fishing License grant. Staff and volunteers place yellow or red tags on approximately 15,000 fish in North Carolina’s coastal waters each year.
When a tagged fish is reported along with the required information, participants receive a letter and personalized certificate with information about their fish, as well as a reward.
Those who return a yellow tag marked with “NCDMF” receive either $5, a tagging program hat, fish towel, or fish pin. Those who return a red tag marked with “NCDMF” and “$100 REWARD” receive a $100 reward. Additionally, those who return a tag are automatically entered into an annual drawing for $100.
Information required when reporting a tagged fish include the species, tag number, date, location captured, total length of the fish, if the fish was released or harvested, and the type of gear used to capture the fish. Tags may be reported by phone at 1-800-682-2632 or online. Red tags must be cut off and returned to the division for the participant to receive the $100 reward.
Information gathered from tag returns allows researchers to determine species migration patterns, mortality, population structure and habitat use.