Feasibility of Radio Frequency Identification Tags for Marking Juvenile Salmon for PSC Management Applications

This project will provide an assessment of the current state of RFID technology, its suitability for application to juvenile Chinook and Coho salmon, and its potential to provide more useful and reliable information than the current Coded Wire Tag (CWT) program. The Pacific Salmon Commission identified the following five objectives:

1. Review the current application of RFID tags for animal identification and management, including their advantages and limitations over current technologies.

2. Compare sizes, tag costs, and tag application costs of RFID tags (including PIT tags) with those of CWTs.

3. Review detection capabilities of RFID tags, including detection distances when embedded in animal tissue and when animals are moving through freshwater or seawater.

4. Evaluate the feasibility for mass screening for detection and reading of RFID tags in landings of Pacific salmon.

5. Evaluate the feasibility and cost of incorporating RFID microchips to replace CWT in marking juvenile salmon for coastwide Coho and Chinook salmon management.

These objectives were addressed by combining the information obtained through our review of the pertinent literature, CWT and RFID tagging programs; and structured inquiries of manufacturers of RFID tags used for tagging fish and detecting recoveries in marine fisheries, freshwater fisheries and spawning areas.