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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Mark, Tag and Age Laboratory
General Information

The goals of the Mark Tag and Age Lab (MTA) are to provide fisheries managers and researchers with timely, current, and historical biological data to help them manage, preserve, protect, and perpetuate Alaska's fishery resources. The MTA Lab refines and develops diverse methods and means for providing critical data, develops new applications to address management issues and fosters a broad information exchange.

This mission can be accomplished by recruiting, developing, and retaining a diverse, effectively deployed and well-trained team.

The Mark Lab tracks Alaska salmon populations by deciphering thermal marks induced in fish otoliths. We have pioneered many aspects of this low-cost method of mass marking. The technology we developed has been extended to computer analysis of salmon scales as well.

The Tag Lab is the centralized state resource for tracking salmon using microscopic coded wire tags. We maintain a detailed database that is used to quantify survival of fish groups, timing of runs through commercial fisheries, compliance with Pacific Salmon Treaty strictures and various other biological parameters. The cooperative coast wide coded wire tag program is composed of member agencies in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia.

The Age Determination Unitis a statewide age reading service which produces data for fish and invertebrates sampled during commercial, population survey, and research harvests. Age data help fishery managers set harvest goals by assessing the ability of a species or a population to sustain harvest. This lab also works with scientists at similar labs in other states and provinces to standardize methods and improve techniques, through the Canada-US Groundfish Committee's Technical Subcommittee - Committee of Age Reading Experts.

The ASL Repository houses Alaska commercial fisheries historic salmon age-sex-length observations. The Department is actively reconstructing historic data from many physical locations as time and funding permits. Results are edited into a standard format with consistent codes. "Clean" data are archived permanently in the repository for use by researchers and managers. Visitors may extract data selected by a number of filters. Small queries may be reported directly in a browser. Query results that are voluminous may be retrieved as files readable by Excel, MS Access, and other tools. (It is possible for queries to return millions of observations, so be aware files could exceed Excel capacity limits.)

This site provides you access to the fisheries data in many of our databases through various online reports. You can get a good idea of what we do by surfing through this site. While you're here, please feel free to contact us to tell us how to improve our service. If you want to stop in and see us in person, our lab is located at 10107 Bentwood Place in Juneau, Alaska.

Mailing Address:
State of Alaska
Department of Fish and Game
Mark, Tag and Age Laboratory
PO Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
Phone: (907) 465-3483
Fax: (907) 465-2765
Shipping Address:
State of Alaska
Department of Fish and Game
Mark, Tag and Age Laboratory
10107 Bentwood Drive
Juneau, AK 99801


7/1/2011