AutoFish System

AutoFish System is a self-contained mobile unit that uses advanced technology to rapidly sort within 1 mm accuracy, clip adipose fins (marks), and inject Coded Wire Tags in snouts (tagging) of salmonids from 57 mm to 142 mm.

AutoFish System is contained in a 5th-wheel trailer so that it can be moved between hatcheries.

Mass marking and tagging Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Steelhead, Lake Trout and other salmonids reared at enhancement hatcheries is an important tool for managing hatcheries in a sustainable manner. To meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, federal and state mandates, recommendations from independent scientists, and the Hatchery Genetic Management Plans, hatchery fish must have a visible mark or tag that can be used to distinguish them from naturally produced fish. In many programs, excising the adipose fin has been selected as the visible mark.

AutoFish System is a cost effective way to handle juvenile salmon rapidly without the use of anesthetic or human contact. It was developed as an alternative to manual clipping and tagging to help government agencies implement their ambitious marking and tagging programs for salmonids (read more about Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game’s program and this update about their program).

Front interior of AutoFish System showing the sorter and three tagging lines.
Inside the trailer, AutoFish System contains a sorter and 6 marking and tagging lines. It is computer controlled. The sorter is shown in the left background, and three of the marking and tagging lines are shown in the foreground. The black mechanisms clip the adipose fins and Coded Wire Tags are injected using the blue Mark IV Injectors. The white trays are used to keep the fish swimming through the system. After clipping and tagging, the fish return through pipes back to the holding pond.

See AutoFish in action:

Take a tour of the AutoFish System operating at Douglas Island Pink and Chum’s (DIPAC) Ladd Macaulay Hatchery in Juneau

Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) uses AutoFish for tagging millions of hatchery salmonids

Watch a video showing how the US Fish and Wildlife Service uses AutoFish System in Washington State

See how the US Fish and Wildlife Service uses AutoFish in the Great Lakes Region

Please contact NMT for more information.