Mid-Atlantic
via CCA South Carolina

SC - CCA SC Donates Tags and Receivers to Help With Important Cobia Research

For over two decades, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has been a leader in cobia research.

Most recently, SCDNR biologists have been tracking the movement of cobia throughout the southeast using a technology called acoustic telemetry.

Valuable support to that effort has come via Coastal Conservation Association South Carolina’s (CCA SC) habitat program, the Topwater Action Campaign. In collaboration with long time habitat partner Sea Hunt Boat Company, CCA SC donated 20 acoustic transmitters and four receivers to SCDNR, allowing biologists to increase the number of fish tagged and expand their receiver coverage to new areas off the South Carolina coast. The receiver stations, dubbed the “CCA Triangle,” occur on three artificial reefs along the central coast where cobia are commonly encountered.

“CCA SC considers cobia to be one of the premier recreational fisheries in the Palmetto State and our organization has placed a high priority on the sustainability of the species for recreational anglers to enjoy,” said Scott Whitaker, CCA SC executive director. “Between working with legislators to obtain gamefish status for the species and now with our great partners at Sea Hunt Boat Company to fund a needed program focused on tracking and monitoring of the species, we are securing both meaningful regulation and scientific research in pursuit of wise stewardship for cobia.”

The technology relies on a network of more than 850 listening devices (receivers) located throughout much of the East Coast, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. Cobia are captured via rod and reel and an electronic tag is surgically implanted into the body of the fish. The tag emits a “ping” that can be recorded (a detection) when a cobia travels within ¼ mile of any one of these receivers. New battery technology allows these tags to now function for 10 years or more. When enough fish are tagged and detected on different receivers, patterns in migration begin to emerge.

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