How Anglers Are Learning To Save Fish That Get ‘The Bends’ – KPLU

Good article on the device that is saving fish from the bends. If you fish, you should take a listen.

Each year, sport fishermen unintentionally kill millions of deep-water fish they don’t want or can’t keep. These fish die even though they are handled gently and released quickly. The reason: a condition called barotrauma, which divers know as “the bends.” The problem occurs in fish that have a swim bladder, an internal balloon that helps them control their buoyancy. When a fish is pulled up, “that balloon rapidly begins to expand as the pressure from the water decreases,” says Chris Lowe, a marine scientist at California State, Long Beach. So by the time a deep-water fish reaches the surface, he says, “its eyes could be popped out of its head, its stomach is pushed out of its mouth and it looks absolutely horrific.” Jon Hamilton reports. (KPLU)

One Response

  1. This information is fairly accurate. It is also timely. The fish descenders now being distributed by Puget Sound Anglers and Coastal Conservation Association to redescend rockfish back to the bottom work well to get the fish down there as long as the depth Is not greater than about 60 feet. If everyone were to follow all of the links back to the original article, they all demonstrate fish that are able to swim away. That one problem they do not discuss is that fish are seriously and physically compromised by the entire experience. Unfortunately, almost no one has followed any of those fish for a long period of time after they suffer barotrauma. In one experiment in Oregon where researchers tried track recovery with radio transponders, very few fish were found a month later. It was suspected that those fish suffered so much damage physically that they simply became food for Dungeness crab.


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