Originally Published by the Hamilton Spectator, June 20, 2016

By Mark McNeil

If you hook a Hamilton Harbour walleye or largemouth bass with an antenna sprouting from its midsection, don’t be alarmed.

It’s not an alien species from another world or even an invasive species from another continent.

And if you see a bunch of Fisheries and Oceans workers scooping up vast quantities of fish with nets from a trolling boat, it’s not because they are planning a barbecue.

They’re actually stunning the fish by running an electric current through the water. After they land the fish in the boat, they take down some vital information about species and size before releasing them back in the harbour.

It’s all part of a major effort to better understand fish stocks and the behaviour of fish populations in the bay. Certain ones are being implanted with radio telemetry equipment so their movements can be monitored.

Scientists will take note of where walleye, bass, pike and other species spawn, if they spawn at all.

Fisheries and Oceans watch their movements throughout the year and see whether they venture into the lake.

It’s all information that can be used to devise plans to improve fish stocks of the future.

But for now they especially want to get the word out to anglers that if they catch a fish with an antenna, throw it back in, so the monitoring of the fish can continue. Or if the fish is kept, call the number on its tag and arrange a drop off of the telemetry device so it can be reused. The units cost up to $800 each.

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Photo courtesy of Gary Yokoyama, The Hamilton Spectator.