Tag & Release (Adopt a Fish)

The program represents one of the corner-stones upon which PGFA has been established.

The concept in itself, like all other great concepts, is fairly simple. It deals with the safe release of fish back into its environment, granting it a “second life”. At times, depending on the fish, a small tag is introduced just below the pectoral fin of a fish, causing little harm to the fish, but ensure trace-ability if and when the fish is caught again.

The advantages of this practice, however, are limitless. Apart from the obvious, namely the preservation of fish stocks and prevention of wastage, it shall allow the reintroduction of recreational fishing into the “sport” category, establish ethical angling practices and providing us the most effective tool to actually understanding the characteristics, growth patterns and movement of specific species of fish found in our waters.

Through PGFA, although yet in its developmental stages, we shall provide people with the equipment and know-how required to release fish safely back into their environment. This transition cannot happen overnight, as like everything else about fishing in Pakistan, a lot of development work has yet to be done to adjust internationally practiced tag and release methods to suit our unique environment. We also depend on you to actually help us implement the system.

To start off, we shall encourage people to strongly enforce bag limits as established in the “Bag Limits” section of this website. Juvenile fish, and fish beyond the daily quota should be released back, using the methods highlighted below.

The PGFA also has a small number of Tagging sets available, mainly for use on Bill Fish and/or Sharks. Incase you are going off-shore, members of the PGFA or any other club in Pakistan affiliated with IGFA (International Game Fish Association), may contact a representative of the PGFA if they wish to make use of this equipment.

Rewards have been established for the capture of a tagged fish. Any angler, who lands a fish that already has been previously tagged is encouraged to contact us, with the attached form completed, in order to claim his record. A similar offer has been shared with local commercial fishermen, ensuring the free flow of information and knowledge that shall emanate from your tagging efforts. 

When the angler tags the fish, they fill out the details on a tag card with the corresponding tag number and enter the information at website in “online Tag info Form” When a fish is recaptured with a tag in it, the angler sends PGFA back the information, and then we compare it to the tag and release information that we have received prior in our database, Both the first release and recapture anglers can check the comparative details by entering the tag number at our website, and later issued with a Game Fish Recapture Certificate. PGFA may issue a monetary reward as at present the program doesn’t possess the adequate funding. This knowledge enables the PGFA to observe migratory habits of the fish by measuring the distance traveled, and also monitor their growth patterns and behavior in accordance with the calculated days or years the fish has been at liberty.

Program Goals

  • To develop a quality oriented tagging program utilizing recreational anglers to enhance data collection efforts for specific species of fish.
  • To educate anglers about the need, benefits, limitations, and operation of tagging programs and other information gathering efforts directed toward saltwater fin fish, including the proper methods for reporting the recapture of tagged fish
  • To reinforce efforts to educate anglers about the benefits and proper techniques for catching, handling, releasing, and tagging fish.

TAG PLACEMENT – Please look after the fish

  • Remove the hook if it can be done easily. If not, cut the line as close to the fish as possible.
  • Return the fish to the water as quickly as possible.
  • If you lay the fish down, put it on a smooth, cool, wet surface.
  • Keep your tag applicator clean.



Tag placements are shown on the diagrams

When Handling and Releasing a Fish

PLAN AHEAD Minimize stress and exhaustion by using tackle strong enough to land fish quickly. Set hooks quickly to minimize the opportunity for fish to swallow hooks and avoid the use of treble hooks. When practical, bend down the barbs on hooks or use barb less hooks.

MINIMIZE HANDLING Do not touch the eyes or gills. Large fish are best released by leaving them in the water and removing the hooks. Small fish should be brought on board and handled with a damp towel or damp cotton gloves, which will minimize damage to the skin and protective slime of fish. Control the fish, gently but firmly so it cannot “flop” around and cause itself any further injury. Do not use a gaff.

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS TO REMOVE THE HOOKS Needle nose pliers work well for fish hooked in the mouth, while a deep-throat de-hooker or disgorger should be used for deeply hooked fish. Cut the leader close to the fish’s mouth if hook removal is not possible. Never pull or jerk on the leader to remove a hook.

RELEASE FISH GENTLY If the fish is stressed or exhausted, revive it by gently moving it forward through the water until it is able to swim off.

What Can You Do when Catching a Tagged Fish?

  • The most important information on a tag is the tag number. This is the key to identifying the fish. It is critical to record the exact tag number.
  • If you plan on releasing the fish, quickly write down the tag number, measure or estimate the fish’s length, then gently release the fish with the tag in place. Multiple recaptures of tagged fish are particularly valuable to the tagging program. If you keep the fish, remove the tag, for reporting purposes. In either case, contact the tagging office with the tag information E-mail us at recap@pgfa.org.
  • Measure and record both the total length and fork length of the fish, or estimate the length if you do not have a measuring device. Also provide an estimated weight of the fish.
  • Record the species of the fish date of catch, and exact location where the fish was caught.
  • Record any information about the fish which could be useful; for example, any unusual markings or wounds.
  • When you report the recapture of a tagged fish, you will be provided with information about the fish (when and where it was tagged; size when tagged) and you will also be given a logo award from the Pakistan Game Fish Association.