Principal Investigators: Nick Wegner and John Hyde
Post-Doc: Andrew Nosal (post doc, Scripps Institution of Oceanography) and Lyall Bellquist (post doc, Southwest Fisheries Science Center).
Collaborators: Phil Hastings (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Chris Lowe (Cal State, Long Beach), Ken Franke (Sportfishing Association of California)
Facility: NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Study: (1) Ability of southern California deepwater rockfish to survive barotrauma following in-situ recompression (2) Evaluation of recompression techniques to reduce rockfish (genus Sebastes) bycatch mortality in recreational fisheries
This project examines the post-release survival and behavior of rockfishes released using descending devices. Rockfishes captured from depth experience a condition known as barotrauma, in which gas inside the gas bladder expands with the change in pressure and can cause a number of injuries and related issues including a ruptured gas bladder, crushed organs, eversion of the esophagus and stomach, exopthalmia (bulging of the eyes), emphysema and emboli in various organs, bloating, and excessive buoyancy. Descending devices can be used to release rockfish back to a depth where the symptoms of barotrauma should be minimized, and this study uses acoustic tagging to determine the ability of rockfish to survive and recover from barotrauma if properly released.
Species Tagged: Bank rockfish (Sebastes rufus), Bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis), Cowcod (Sebastes levis), Starry rockfish (Sebastes constellatus), and Sunset rockfish (Sebastes crocotulus)
Funding Provided by: NOAA’s By-catch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, World Wildlife Foundation, NOAA’s Cooperative Fishing Program, NOAA’s Advanced Survey Technology Program, Sportfishing Association of California
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