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The World's First
Spawning Detection PSAT

  1. A tiny acoustic pinger is inserted into the ovary of a fish.
  2. A second larger  SeaTag  is attached on the outside of the fish.
  3. Upon ejection of the acoustic pinger during spawning, the outside SeaTag will register the signal loss from the acoustic pinger.
  4. The  SeaTag  will then pop-off the animal and float to the surface of the water to transmit location, time, temperature and depth data.

Why do we need a spawning detector tag? 

Undoubtedly spawning detection is an important facet of fish stock surveys, fish biology research, and ecology studies. Without it,  knowldge of the population structure, life history starting point, and ability to designate spawning locations as protected areas would suffer or go unknown. Currently, the bulk of spawning detection surveys are done by visual site identification and analysis, sometimes assisted by acoustic tagging means in small bodies of waters where ejected tags can be localized. This method (although the best we had for some time) is quite limited:

First, spawning site detection is biased by where we look or sample, potentially missing many important sites. 

Seconddirect sampling or visual inspection yields just a snapshot in time, and cannot provide a detailed story as a tag can. When fish are spawning it is valuable to know their depth selection in relation to temperature, and their movement and behavior before, during and after the spawning event. 

Third, a satellite reporting spawning tag sustains itself and will work wherever, whenever, on a global scale. 

Fourth, a more indirect reason, the spawning detector tag is a branch in the ever-evolving Desert Star plan. This tag is a spawning detector tag, but also a step towards a floating and diving, low-cost listening tag that will be used to detect the presence of Whales far offshore. This tag may give advance notice to fishers and others when whales are moving through an area. Additionally, this tag will be easily deployed in the hundreds from low flying aircraft or boats all in accordance with our belief of low-cost and robust technology.    

Is it real, and how does it work? 

The spawning detector tag and it's continuing development is currently funded by NOAA through an SBIR project. At the time of this newsletter, the tag will be completed and ready for an early-adopter phase by February of 2019. 

Refer back to the four steps at the beginning of this section. The spawning detector tag builds from our previous modular SeaTag Technology, and is, therefore, an extension of our toolkit rather than something built from scratch. 

This is only possible because all Desert Star products are designed to be modular and expandable for future technological improvements. In this case, our SeaTag-MOD is the base toolkit we are expanding upon. 

The SeaTag-MOD comes standard with time, light, temperature, depth, acceleration and location reporting through a combination of magnetic and light measurements. On the bottom of the MOD there is a kinetic release section that attaches via pins and works in fresh and saltwater. It is here the MOD will receive it's spawning detection power. 

The left device is an acoustic receiver, which is in charge of listening for the acoustic pings from the tiny pinger inserted into the ovary of the fish. 

In this way, the external SeaTag can detect the presence of the pinger. When that is no longer the case, the SeaTag will then trigger it's kinetic release system and pop-off the fish. 

From this, a detailed look into the event can be seen with time, temperature, depth, acceleration and location data available. Better yet, the solar panels wrapping around the side of the SeaTag will enable a better chance for continued transmissions and psychical recovery. 
Odoo • Text and Image

Who is working on it, how can I hear more? 

Marco Flagg (Founder and CEO) has been working on the Spawning Detector tag and will be moving to fish trials here soon. Marco has been engineering and testing marine technology since his diving innovation (the DiveTracker) in the 1990s. Since then Marco has gone on to engineer and deploy technology ranging from Ropeless Fishing systems, underwater recorders, positioning networks, modems, and of course SeaTag's. 

This project is also joined by veteran marine animal researcher Dr. A Peter Klimley, who has published over 150 scientific articles, three books,  and edited four journal special editions. 

In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out with further questions or if you'd like to check the status of the tag development let me know!

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