A key difference between the JSATS and VEMCO systems is dry tag weight. JSATS tags weigh 0.43 grams and are the smallest acoustic tags available. VEMCO tags that have been used in Columbia River juvenile salmon weighed 3.1 grams. Previous research shows fish can bear a tag that weighs up to 6.7 percent of their body weight without significant adverse survival effects. That means JSATS tags can be implanted into fish as light as 6.5 grams, while VEMCO tags should be used in fish that weigh no less than 46.3 grams.
Another advantage of JSATS is that it is non-proprietary and available for anyone to manufacture or use. Because several companies have been able to competitively bid for the opportunity to produce the system's components, its cost has dropped in recent years. JSATS tags, for example, have gone from $300 per tag in 2005 to $215 in 2008. And JSATS tags cost $40 to $135 less than other commercially available acoustic tags in 2008. Proprietary interests have hindered the development of acoustic telemetry equipment in certain areas, the team wrote.
"JSATS has helped us get a clearer, more complete picture of how salmon migrate and survive through the Columbia and Snake rivers to the Pacific Ocean," McMichael said. "But we're continuing to develop JSATS and hope others will find it useful in studies of other aquatic animals. There's an opportunity for all aquatic telemetry technologies to be improved."
|Contact: Franny White|
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory