Visible implant elastomer

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This wiki is under development, there might be omissions and errors. The data in many of the tables is only for demonstration purposes, not based on reality (yet).

Figure 1. Injection of visible implant elastomer (NMT)
Figure 2: Example of VIE inside fish (NMT)

Quick summary

Developed by: Northwest Marine Technology, Inc.


Type: Device


Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE) Tags are coloured tags ( They are implanted in translucent tissue of several animals, mainly used in fish, but also in crustaceans, cephalopods, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, etc. (Figure 1). VIE consists of two liquid components (colour component and curing agent) which are mixed just before the tagging, changing into a solid state in a short time (1-2 hours). VIE are injected subcutaneously with syringes or specialist injection systems in clear tissue areas, and there are several colours available, with and without fluorescence.


The main goal of tagging with VIE is the visual recognition of individuals (Figure 2). This can be achieved with a unique code, depending on the number of animals, colours and tagging places available. Obtaining results is based on mark and recapture techniques, and usually as a complement of another tracking system. The main application is focused on temporary habitat use studies. In the case of fishways, tagging fish downstream, upstream and inside the fishway, and recapturing some of them, can provide information about their movements. In contrast to other tag devices smaller individuals (even less than five centimetres) can be tagged with VIE and the cost per tag is quite low (€ cents per tag per millilitre of product and day of tagging). However, about costs, it is necessary to also take into account the need for fish samples, or video recording devices that are required for the recaptures

Relevant mitigation measures and test cases

Relevant measures (demonstration purposes only)
Mitigating reduced annual flow and low flow measures
Mitigating rapid, short-term variations in flow (hydro-peaking operations)
Placement of stones in the river
Construction of a "river-in-the-river"
Construction of off-channel habitats
Environmental design of embankments and erosion protection
Placement of dead wood and debris
Operational measures (turbine operations, spillway passage)
Sensory, behavioural barriers (electricity, light, sound, air-water curtains)
Fish-friendly turbines
Skimming walls (fixed or floating)
Bypass combined with other solutions
Fish guidance structures with narrow and wide bar spacing
Bottom-type intakes (Coanda screen, Lepine water intake, etc)
Other types of fine screens
Complete or partial migration barrier removal
Nature-like fishways
Pool-type fishways
Baffle fishways
Fishways for eels and lampreys
Fish lifts, screws and locks
Truck transport
Relevant test cases (demonstration purposes only)
Altheim test case
Las Rives test case
Trois Ville test case
Bragado test case

Other information

More information about range size and species with links to research papers can be found here: There are other types of tags with similar characteristics and/or applications. For example: VI Alpha tags (, Anchor tags (, piercing tags (

Contact information

Relevant literature

  • Hohn, C., Petrie-Hanson, L.(2013)Evaluation of visible implant elastomer tags in zebrafish (Danio rerio)Biology Open 2: 1397-1401;
  • Jacoby, D.M.P., Fear, L.N., Sims, D.W., Croft, D.P.(2014) Shark personalities? Repeatability of social network traits in a widely distributed predatory fish. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 68, 1995–2003 .