SeaTag S.A.M.

Stock Assessment and Mortality 

PSAT Tags for Fisheries Management

PSAT is a powerful technology to gain high-resolution insights on the life history of individual animals. Building on experience we have gained with our high capability SeaTag-MOD, collaboration with our researcher partners and over 1800 tag deliveries, we have now optimized the S.A.M. tags specifically for effective stock assessment, mortality studies and other applications in fisheries management.




The software used to create a position track using the data collected by SeaWatch.

Download Version 2.4.0 | Tutorial


The Desert Star Systems program used to automatically download and process the data collected by the SeaTags and transmitted to the Argos Satellites.

Download Version 2.6.0 | Tutorial


The DSS program used to convert .drl files into .csv bundles, a collection of .csv spreadsheets that contain processed packet information.

Download Version 1.1.0 | Tutorial

Bullshark Tagging with SeaTag-LOT

Using Light Signals to Activate or Reset a Tag

Improvements and Advantages of the SeaTag S.A.M. Family

SeaTag S.A.M. tags incorporate a number of improvements responsive to identified shortcomings of PSAT and their practical use in large numbers.

Low Tag Cost:

To provide a reasonable sample size within a limited research budget, the tags are available at an inherently low cost. The three tags offer a range of price and performance points starting with the basic SeaTag-LOT for mortality and coarse scale horizontal migration studies ($499 in quantity 2016 pricing), up to SeaTag-3D including precision geomagnetic positioning, depth sensing and return of high resolution time series data ($1350 quantity 2016).

Assured Results: 

Tags in the ocean face many risks that may result in loss of reporting, minimal reporting or compromised data returns. The ST-GOLD program covers these contingencies, providing free replacement tags, data delivery and processing.

Fixed price, affordable data delivery, & processing:

Argos satellite data delivery and track processing is available at 30% of the cost of the tag through an agreement between CLS and Desert Star. For an additional $150, data delivery is unlimited, supporting large data sets and the long reporting endurance of the solar powered SeaTag devices.

Consistent & simple operation 

All SeaTag S.A.M. tags share the same operating method and are simple to use, supporting engagement of tagging partners such as commercial and sport fishermen.

Higher Accuracy & Confidence Tracks

SeaTag-GEO and SeaTag-3D incorporate a magnetometer to provide stable and accurate tracks, reflecting the stability and generally smooth intensity gradient (except where disturbed by significant crustal magnetic anomalies) of the earth’s main magnetic field [5].

Improved reliability of data return

To provide the best possible opportunity for data return, the solar powered S.A.M. tags transmit archived data whenever exposed to the sun, independent of if it might be underwater or at the surface, on the tagged animal or floating. Each message provides the moist essential status information in a single byte, and priority modes let you specify the most critical data (SeaTag-3D).

Extended monitoring and large data sets

Solar power means S.A.M. tags can transmit data for long periods of time, enabling the return of large data sets of time series data. For example, Van Houton et. al. [6] used SeaTag-GEO as ocean drifters to determine Hawksbill turtle hatchling dispersal trajectories experienced reporting times of 3.3 to 14.2 months with three tags including the 14.2 months tag still reporting at the cut-off time. Pohlot et al. [7] relied on the extended reporting of SeaTag-MOD to transmit accelerometer time series behavioral data.

Small, low-drag design for a longer tag retention opportunity 

The drag of a tag is proportional to its frontal area [8], i.e. the area of largest cross section typically at the float body. S.A.M. tags have a streamlined design with a slim float body that for SeaTag-LOT measures 30mm, currently the smallest for commercial PSAT tags and used as part of the study. Based on first principles, this drag reduction provides an opportunity to extend tag retention; however tag retention depends on many factors [3].

Real-time monitoring of tagging

S.A.M. tags transmit whenever exposed to sunlight. Opportunistic transmissions occur when a tagged animal reaches the surface, and the tag will transmit as soon as shed from the animal. Real-time monitoring through the SeaTag software suite lets check on your experiment status at any time, and make responsive changes if the situation demands. The SeaWatch utility auto-retrieves the latest data from the CLS server once per hour. SeaConvert decodes the available data, one tag at a time or as a batch for all your tags, into a set of sorted .CSV files. SeaTrack uses the geomagnetic method [5] to quickly compute a track from the archival records for the magnetometer equipped tags (-GEO and -3D).

Presentation ready tracks and figures

We recommend obtaining final, presentation ready tracks and figures for your tags through the CLS Track&Loc program. Track&Loc considers all tag observations, environmental models and animal capabilities to produce a consistent track. The delivered data package is standardized and suitable for publication, saving considerable data processing effort and making your results more readily comparable to other research.

Physical tag recovery and re-use:

Physical recovery of SeaTag-3D in particular means you can recover the complete high-resolution dataset stored in its memory; far more data that can be transmitted by Argos. The long post pop-up transmission period of SeaTag devices enhances the opportunities for recovery. Radio homing to SeaTag post pop-up is common, and part of the experiment design for some users [9]. Other practiced methods include the observation of a tag until beached, and subsequent use of social media to entice local beach combers to find a tag. Due to solar power, the S.A.M. tags are re-usable but with limitation: The integrated release section is designed for one time use. While subsequent kinetic releases may or may not be practical due to burn chamber electric contact fouling, the tag can be re-used without the release mechanism, relying instead on eventual shedding to release from the animal in subsequent deployments.