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Grouper Tracking

April 24, 2006

Many of the world’s fish species have been overfished to a tiny fraction of their original numbers. In order to rebuild one fish population, scientists in Florida are undertaking an ambitious new surveillance program.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Spying on fish. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

High-tech listening devices. Surgically implanted transmitters. Tracking thousands of subjects without their knowledge. It’s not a controversial Homeland Security program: it’s a fish research project. University of Miami marine biologist Jerry Ault and his colleagues are implanting acoustic transmitters into thousands of Florida grouper in and around a marine reserve. Then they’re re-releasing them, and listening in with underwater microphones.

JERRY AULT (University of Miami):
And the transmitter itself is pinging about 3 times a minute, and each pinger has a unique acoustic code so we can identify individual fish.

HIRSHON:
By understanding how the grouper use the protected waters, the researchers hope to figure out how to replenish their overfished population, while still keeping area fisheries well-stocked. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.