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Tagging Program Certification Process

A well-designed tagging program can provide a wealth of information about a species's life-history and movement patterns, but a badly designed program can yield useless, even biased, results and harm the fish it studies. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has developed a voluntary certification process for tagging programs to promote good tagging practices and sharing of tagging information among scientific and fisheries management groups.

Programs provide information on their objectives and methods, and experts from the ASMFC Interstate Tagging Committe review the information to determine whether the study is scientifically sound and worthy of certification. The Committee also provides feedback to improve program design. The Committee is made up of scientists from state and federal agencies and academic institutions. All approved programs will be listed on the Cooperative Tagging Website and Registry as a certified program that meets the criteria for scientific quality and fish safety. We encourage all registered tagging programs to apply.

Organizations that are interested in having their programs certified should download the certification application (pdf) and submit the completed application and any supporting documentation via e-mail or postal mail to:

Jeff Kipp
Stock Assessment Scientist
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1050 N. Highland St. Suite 200A-N
Arlington, VA 22201
Email: jkipp@asmfc.org
Phone: (703) 842-0740

One application per tagging program should be submitted regardless of the number of species tagged. ASMFC staff will confirm that applications are complete or request clarification where necessary.

Applications will then be sent to the appopriate species Technical Committee(s) and the certification subcommittee of the ITC for review. The ITC will rate each item (see application for more information on rating system) and respond in one of the following ways to the tagging program within 90 days of application date:

  1. Award certification to the tagging program, accompanied by a certificate and listing on the web site as certified program that it meets the criteria for scientific quality and fish safety.


  2. Notify tagging program of areas that need improvement for certification to be granted, such as redirecting the program goals, or putting them in contact with a local scientific or management group with which to share data. These programs would be encouraged to respond with clarifications or changes to their program for future certification.

Tagging Program Registration Process

The certification process is entirely optional. If you would like your program added to our searchable databases without going through the certification process, download the registration form (pdf) and return it via e-mail or postal mail to Jeff Kipp, using the contact information above.


For questions about fish tagging in freshwater, contact your state agency.
For additional information about tagging in marine waters contact Jeff Kipp at jkipp@asmfc.org

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission