Returning tagged fish and shellfish

We regularly tag fish in experiments to record fish behaviour, growth and fishing catch rates.

Most of the commercial species have been subject to tagging on all major fishing grounds so there is always the chance of finding a tagged fish wherever you're fishing.

Mark and recapture experiments use conventional "marker" tags (i.e., not data-storage or electronic tags). They can provide valuable insights into fish migrations and stock structure, which have important implications for fishery management. They can also provide useful information on growth and, in some circumstances, exploitation rates.

Electronic data storage tags (DSTs) allow scientists to continuously record the behaviour of individual fish between the points of release and recapture. This information helps us to interpret how fish live and respond to their environment.

The recovery of our tagged fish and the success of our tagging campaigns rely on the collaboration of the fishing industry and recreational anglers.

Fish tag returns


We will pay £6 for conventional tags, plus the market value of the fish and any postage incurred.

For DST-tagged fish, we also pay a reward, value dependent on project.

Shellfish tag returns

Data on the movement and growth of crabs is lacking, so it is very important that when you catch a tagged crab you record the

  • tag colour and number
  • date
  • location (latitude and longitude)
  • sex
  • crab's size (carapace width in mm).

To return the tag and crab with the relevant details:


We will pay £6 for conventional T-bar tags and a reward for storage tags (DSTs) when you supply the full recapture details (see above) AND the return of the crab please.