Miramichi Salmon Tracking Tag Found in Outer Hebrides

CBC NB - News

Miramichi salmon's tracking tag found by Scottish boy

Callum McLeod found the tag on the northwest coast of Scotland

By Jordan Gill, CBC News Posted: Aug 18, 2016 10:51 AM AT Last Updated: Aug 18, 2016 1:16 PM AT

Have you ever found a needle in a haystack? A boy in Scotland might as well have.

A tag that was attached to a salmon in the Miramichi River last year washed up on shore recently on the northwest coast of Scotland.

Graham Chafe, a biologist with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the organization that attached the tag, said he was surprised when he heard that it had been found.

"We were delighted too, it's gone a long ways," Chafe said.

"It probably came off the fish somewhere in the Labrador Sea, and would've floated the rest of that way, a couple thousand kilometres on its own."

The tags gather information on water temperature, light and a prediction where the fish is, but this tag stopped transmitting.

Chafe said that tags often stop sending back data but it's always a blow then they do.

"It's unfortunate because they're very expensive, [and there's] only so many you can put out. So, another one is a big deal," said Chafe.

Chafe said that the boy, named Callum McLeod, has sent the tag back to Canada so the federation can try and extract the data.

While the tag hasn't arrived yet, Chafe has seen pictures of the tag and had a good idea why it stopped broadcasting.

"You can tell that the antenna is broken, so that may be why we did not hear from the tag when it tried to transmit," said Chafe.

These tags are meant to gather information about the salmon that is still not as well known to researchers.

"This is meant to explore the marine section of the migration of the salmon, which is a little less known than in the rivers [where] you can count them and see them," said Chafe.

While McLeod won't get rich off of his find, Chafe and the federation said that the boy will receive something for his help.

"We'll send him a bit of a reward and a membership to the ASF so he'll read the journal. He's quite excited," said Chafe.

"He's really eager to know what the tag tells."