Thursday, June 29, 2017

29/06/2017: PIT tagging: monitoring and management for brood stock and genetic research programmes

by Kirstyn McKay, Biomark Inc., US

Biomark Inc., a US based company, has been selling passive integrated transponders (PIT tags) for over 28 years to permanently identify individual animals

Beginning with fisheries conservation studies, the use of PIT tags has expanded to include mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and many other animals and objects. More recently, the aquaculture industry has embraced this technology realising the value of PIT tag technology use as a reliable and effective method of research, monitoring, and management of individual animals. As a result, Biomark has expanded their sales and customer service staffing to include representation worldwide.
Tagging juvenile tilapia with the pre-load
needle system. 
Image credit: Biomark

PIT tags: What they do

PIT tags, also known as ‘microchips’ or electronic identification (EID), allow researchers to safely mark most species internally without altering external appearance. In almost all cases, the tag will stay with the animal for its entire life cycle.

The small size of PIT tags virtually eliminates any negative impact on animals with little or no influence on growth-rate, behavior or health when tagged using best practices and methods. PIT tags do not have a battery so the microchip remains inactive until read with a scanner (reader). The reader sends a low frequency signal to the microchip within the PIT tag providing the power needed by the tag to send its unique identification code back to the reader and positively identify the animal.

The distance from which a tag can be read is referred to as read range. Many factors contribute to the read range of passive tags including tag construction, quality of components, manufacturing standards, operation frequency, antenna power and size, tag orientation and electromagnetic interference (EMI) from other devices.

PIT tags are detected in milliseconds at close range - from a few centimeters up to about one meter or more in distance. Tags can be read through materials such as soil, wood and water. Ferrous metals and noisy (EMI) environments can cause interference between the electromagnetic communication of the reader and tag, and adversely affect tag reading.

“Not all created equal”

Not all PIT tags are created equal. At visual inspection, there is no way to tell a quality tag from a low cost, low performing tag. There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that the quality of construction, durability, tag code integrity and performance are not compromised.

There is an ISO standard for PIT tags (ISO 11784/11785). Using tags and reader that comply with these standards will ensure frequency and reading compatibility. PIT tags should also be approved and certified by the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) for quality, reliability and, more importantly, the guarantee that the tags will all have a unique ID code with no duplications.

Using tags that are specifically made for animal use is important along with selecting a manufacturer that specialises in aquaculture and conservation PIT tags and related equipment. Biomark engineers, manufactures and distributes PIT tags and readers that are designed specifically for the aquaculture and conservation market. As a result of conducting their own manufacturing they are able to ensure their tags and readers provide the highest quality and performance options available in PIT tag technology for aquaculture use.

PIT tags are typically injected subcutaneously using a hypodermic needle. Implant location varies depending on the species being tagged, size (age) and in some cases the behavior of the animal. Tags are available in many packaging formats whilst a unique pre-loaded tagging system was recently developed.

The pre-load system (PLT) consists of a tray of 100 tags loaded into single use needles and a double push-rod design eliminating the need for hand loading tags or sterilising needles between uses. This method not only saves significant time and money but also results in tag shed and mortality reduction.

Read the full article, HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

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