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Minimal body size for tagging fish with electronic microchips as studied in the Nile tilapia

Ouedraogo C., Canonne M., D'Cotta H., Baroiller J.F., Baras E.. 2014. North American Journal of Aquaculture, 76 (3) : p. 275-280.

DOI: 10.1080/15222055.2014.911228

Individual identification of fish is often desirable for the smallest possible size, but it is crucial that tagging does not interfere with fish survival, physiology, or behavior. We evaluated radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags (10 mg) and PIT tags (PIT; 32 mg) in fish of two different size-classes of Nile Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus: 200¿500 mg and 640¿1,600 mg, wet mass (WM). This produced four categories of tag load for each type of tag: 5.0, 3.3, 2.5, and 2.0% of WM. We tested 30 fish per category. Survival averaged 95.8% for RFID tags and 98.3% for PIT tags. Tag retention after 35 d was 99.1% for RFID tags and 96.6% for PIT tags. Tagged fish grew more slowly than controls. Growth penalty was proportional to tag load, but restricted to the first 4 d after tagging and compensated by catch-up growth, except in fish <300 mg presumably due to greater difficulties of handling and tagging. Small PIT tags can thus be used confidently in tilapia of about 1.3 g and RFID tags in tilapia of about 0.4 g. If growth is not a premium, the corresponding minimal sizes are 1.0 (for PIT) and 0.3 g (for RFID).

Mots-clés : oreochromis niloticus; Égypte; france

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