Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tagging Controversy - Paper!


You really got to read this!
Neil, Austin et al are wading right into the hornet's nest that is the whole bloody Shark tagging controversy -biofouling, harassing and all- and attempting to encourage dialogue to establish a set of possible rules that may satisfy all the diverging resource users from researchers to operators to fishermen to conservationists to aficionados.
Not gonna happen of course - but valiant try! :)

And I cite.
Some recommendations to help engage local stakeholders in the significance of tagging research include
  • (1) use of informative posters or flyers; 
  • (2) meetings with stake holders ahead of time; 
  • (3) involving members of the public in the research (i.e. citizen science) or inviting them to observe the tagging activities; 
  • (4) providing public talks (e.g. schools, clubs and museums); 
  • (5) working closely with stakeholders (such as hiring guides or tourism operators to help with research)
  • (6) use of traditional mass media (print, radio and television)
  • (7) publishing tagging results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely fashion
  • (8) use of online materials such as websites, short videos, teaching via social media and even online platforms that allow the public to follow the movements of the tagged animals; and
  • (9) keeping the public updated on results.
Indeed - see Fischer's bloody communication breakdown in SA vs the much improved outreach when he moved operations to the US East Coast!
And I did like this.
While this discourse has mostly focused on stakeholder attitudes as well as user consideration and responsibilities, manufacturers have an important role to play in improving tag function and animal welfare.
While there is certainly considerable manufacturer effort to improve tag performance (battery life, transmission rate and size), there needs to be a greater focus on engineering instruments that eventually detach from animals, especially if a large proportion of tags inevitably become functionally impaired. The software does exist for some tags (mostly satellite tags) to determine their functionality (e.g. battery life/power level or light level that could determine biofouling) which could trigger release mechanisms of external tags. Tools could be further developed or studies designed in a way that tagged animals are recaptured at the end of a study.
Again, indeed!
Kinda reminds me of a rather lengthy (!!!) post somebody wrote a few years ago! :) 

Anyway, brave and interesting paper!
Like I said, you really got to read it, and I'm sure the authors will be happy to provide you with a copy should you ask them!


Neil Hammerschlag said...

Thanks for posting our paper.

However, this essay is not intended to promote controversy. instead our aim is to foster dialogue and further considerations on the fate of electronic tagging to help improve animal welfare and project success that will ultimately further advance the field of biotelemety.

Also, this issue is not and should not be restricted to a specific taxa as this issue is occurring in all aquatic species in which animals are electronically tagged.

The paper can be downloaded here:

DaShark said...


What part of attempting to encourage dialogue did you not like?

Lighten up buddy.

Wanna know said...

Who was the brilliant industry seer who wrote a lengthy post?

DaShark said...

Yeah I'm wondering, too!

But that's not relevant.
What is relevant is, are the then naysayers still naysaying?

Anonymous said...

To clarify one important point: 'Citizen science' by convention and most widely accepted definition and applications is NOT having the public assist in or observe scientists in the field, directly, while the scientist do the work. (That is ecotourism with a lot of science involved -- and certainly has its educational value). Instead, 'citizen science' is the general public collecting information, data, or observations, usually independently and based on a scientific protocol, and giving that information to scientists to analyze/interpret (see the Audubon Bird Counts, as the best and longest-running example). Though it may be convenient to use the term to describe having the public pay/donate to research by observing/participating, the misuse of the term weakens the very concept. Unless the authors are suggesting that they are training members of the public to tag sharks on their own (which, of course, they are not), a different descriptor should be used. Or trade-marked -- behind the scenes -- to completely change 100+ years of public use and precedent. Perhaps next, a lab somewhere will trade-mark the term 'biodiversity' but use it to describe whatever they want. Or not.

DaShark said...

Hah - I sooo know ho you are... :)