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NEWSLETTER ISSUE 3/05 August 2005

Pioneers in positioning fish with DST GPS archival tags

In June 2005, the Marine Research Institute of Iceland and University of Akureyri in cooperation with the local fishing fleet in Eyjafjordur (Iceland) launched a very ambitious research project where Star-Oddi DST GPS archival tags are used to position the movements and behavior of cod in one of Iceland's largest fjords.

The aim of the project is to track the movements of cod in the fjord.  The environmental situation in the fjord is unique as there are geothermal hot springs underwater that have formed several large geothermal cones and one important objective with the study is to find out if the fish get near these hot springs/cones.

The new DST GPS archival tag allows the scientist to track the movements of the fish with high accuracy, the tag also stores temperature and depth measurements in its memory giving the scientists valuable information about the behavior of the fish as well as information about environmental parameters in the surroundings. When the fish is recaptured the valuable information is retrieved, and the tags can be reprogrammed and reused as long as the battery last.

Fish Positioning Sounder (FPS)  Small and low cost solution!
What makes this project particularly interesting is the small portable transmitter that is used to transmit the GPS codes underwater to the DST GPS archival fish tags. The small FPS transmitter is put on several small fishing boats that sail frequently in the area of interest. The commercial fishermen that allow the scientists to attach the small FPS are the key players in this project, which makes this a low cost solution for the project.

Due to cost effective agreements with our suppliers, Star-Oddi has been able to lower the price of the portable GPS transmitter (FPS), and makes this solution attractive for other similar research projects.

The DST GPS System website

1024 redfish tagged at depths down to 850m

In June 2005 the Marine Research Institute in Iceland (MRI) along with team of experts from Star-Oddi tagged 1024 redfish at the Irminger Sea on the Reykjanes ridge in Icelandic territorial waters. The cruise lasted 12 days and thereof were 10 active days of tagging. According to Thorsteinn Sigurdsson, the MRI project leader, the Star-Oddi Underwater Tagging Equipment (UTE) performed very well and has yet again proven itself to be reliable and accurate while tagging at great depths.

Electronic tags were used for the first time, but until now the redfish had been tagged with plastic dummy tags. Out of the 1024 tags,  49 DST micro electronic tags from Star-Oddi were used. The DST micro tags record temperature and depth measurements in parallel with time, and will give further insight into the vertical and horizontal distribution of  redfish (Sebastes mentella). The fish were tagged around 180 nautical miles southwest of Reykjanes, Iceland at depths of 650-800 m with the UTE, using large pelagic trawl.

Prior to the tagging cruise in June, 752 redfish had been tagged with the UTE. Out of the 752 tags, 25 tags have been recaptured, which is considered a good recapture rate as the redfish is harvested at relativly low exploitation rate (<10%).  This recapture rate within the first year (3.3%) also indicate that the fish copes well with the deepwater tagging surgery of the UTE.

The latest recapture of tagged redfish was from the October 2003 tagging, and had been inside the fish for 16 months. According to Mr. Sigurdsson the recaptured tags have given very valuable data about the distribution and migration of the fish.  The scientists participating in the project look forward to  recapture some of the electronic tags that are expected to give information about the fish behaviour  and environmental conditions in the fish surroundings.

The MRI has already begun to plan the next cruises where they plan to expand the concept and use the UTE to tag cod and other fish in shallower water that is sensitive for being tagged with existing methods. With the Star-Oddi UTE, the fish is tagged and released underwater so the fish is not  brought to the surface for tagging. 

World Wildlife Fund honors' real world solutions' for oceans

Steve Beverly, a Fisheries Development Officer with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has won the grand prize in a global "Smart Gear" competition run by the World Wild Life Fund (WWF). Beverly submitted a unique but simple idea that has already been tested and shown to not only reduce the accidental catching of sea turtles by longliners, but also to improve the efficiency of catching the fish actually being targeted. 

This is a prime example of a "win-win situation" - it benefits both the environment and the people fishing - a situation that is highly sought-after by environment and natural resource managers.

The objective of the project, which took place during March-May 2004, were to perfect the new deep setting technique so that it could be duplicated by any longline boat, and to test it alongside normal setting practices to see if catch rates changed.  To be feasible, the new technique had to eiter improve or not change catch rates for the main target species, bigeye tuna and broadbill swordfish.

Star-Oddi´s DST centi temperature and depth recorders (TDRs) were used on all project baskets and on some normal baskets for comparison.  Without the use of TDRs it is difficult to know the actual depth achieved, because of environmental factors.  If the new deep setting technique could land all hooks below 100 m and still fish effectively, then it could be a solution for avoiding turtle bycatch, as the surface down to 100 m seems to be the critical depth of most sea turtles.

Click here to read the article about the experiment with tuna and swordfish longlines where the temperature and depth recorders where used (PDF file). The article is available on a pdf. file in the scientific papers section on

See also articles:
'Smart Gear' could protect turtles, dolphins, whales by Marsha Walton, on CNN website
Winners of international competition to reduce marine bycatch announced available on WWF website


We welcome you to our stands at the following exhibitions

Aberdeen Sept 2005 - Cod & climate change, rebuilding fish stocks, marine mammals, sharks, oil spills, and oceanography are a few of the themes at this year's ICES Annual Science Conference.


2005 American Fisheries Society, AFS Annual Meeting,
Anchorage, AK, Sept. 11-15

Icelandic Fisheries Exhibition, Reykjavik Iceland
7.-10. September 2005

Small, Inexpensive & Innovative Option

CTD-, TD-, pitch and roll loggers, 3D tilt recorders, and underwater compass loggers  

Small, economical and easy to use temperature, depth, salinity and pitch and roll loggers. The DST series is suitable for tagging marine animals, mooring applications in oceans and freshwater, fishing gear studies and many more.

visit our website on and have a closer look at our products on our website.

DST CTD and DST Temperature and Depth Loggers 

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Customized Product Solutions and New Product Development

 Star-Oddi employs highly competent team of qualified experts in designing and making micro-electronic sensors and related equipment. If our standard products do not fit your requirements, our products can possibly be customized and adjusted to fit your needs.

We at Star-Oddi are open-minded toward new product development and we encourage our customers and prospects to contact us to see if we can meet your requirements. Please contact Star-Oddi with your inquiries or alternatively call (+354) 533 6060.

Star-Oddi | Vatnagardar 14 | 104 Reykjavik | Iceland | Tel: +354 533 6060 | Fax: +354 533 6069 |

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