The effect of electronic data storage tags (DSTs) on the growth of cod Gadus morhua was evaluated in laboratory and field experiments. In the first laboratory experiment, large DSTs (60 × 18 mm, 3 g in water ) attached externally for 3 months did not have any effect (anova, P > 0·05) on the growth of adult cod (mean ± s.d. 65 ± 4·5 cm total length) relative to untagged adult cod. In a second experiment, small DSTs (34 × 11 mm, 1·5 g in water) implanted into young cod (48·1 ± 4·4 cm) for an 8 month period did not have any effect upon the growth relative to untagged controls (anova, P > 0·05). Length data returned from tagging experiments conducted on adult cod (57·3 ± 7·5 cm) in the North Sea showed that the growth of fish tagged either externally or internally with large DSTs was not different (t-test, P > 0·05). Attachment wounds, however, provided evidence that external attachment of DSTs should be avoided unless sensor configuration requires access to the external environment, and that internal implantation should be preferred whenever possible.