Almost all Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands tags have been released during annual sablefish longline surveys. During the years of the Japan-U.S. Cooperative Longline Survey (1978-94), all tagging was done aboard Japanese vessels by Japanese and U.S. scientists working together. The NMFS annual Domestic Longline Survey began in 1987 and replaced the Cooperative Survey in 1995. Since 1997, tagging in offshore waters has been done aboard chartered commercial vessels during the NMFS annual Domestic Longline Survey.
Most of the nearly 65,000 tags released by NMFS in Chatham and Clarence Straits in the Alexander Archipelago have been released from various NOAA research vessels, including the NOAA ships John N. Cobb and Townsend Cromwell. The State of Alaska has jurisdiction over fisheries in these waters, and many of the tag releases were made in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Juvenile sablefish in southeast Alaska make up a third group of NMFS tag releases. Beginning in 1985, juvenile sablefish were tagged and released in a number of bays and inlets in southeast Alaska, ranging from Ketchikan to Juneau. Most of these fish were tagged from the NOAA ships John N. Cobb and Murre II or from docks in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau. Nearly 35,000 juvenile sablefish have been tagged and released to date.
Other recent tagging studies include electronic tagging of adult sablefish, electronic tagging of juvenile sablefish in southeast Alaska, tagging of adult sablefish with pop-off satellite tags, and tagging of sablefish on Gulf of Alaska seamounts.