What to do if you find a VIMS tag or catch a tagged animal

Why report tags?

1. Reporting tagged animals is vital to fisheries research; it helps determine where study animals go and how long they live.

2. Many tags have rewards associated with their return!

Sea turtle

If you catch a LIVE, healthy tagged sea turtle, please note the:

  • tag number
  • location
  • time
  • date of capture
Then release the animal. If the animal is sick or injured, do NOT release it. Instead, keep it moist (cover with wet towels) and out of direct sunlight and heat.

Fish or Sharks

If you catch a tagged fish or shark, read the tag carefully.


  • note the tag number
  • record the location
  • record the time and date of capture
  • measure the length of the animal

Then call the phone number on the tag.

Follow the instructions on the tag. Example: release, or clip/save tag