TitleRecovery potential of black rockfish, Sebastes melanops Girard, recompressed following barotrauma.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsPribyl, AL, Schreck, CB, Kent, ML, Kelley, KM, Parker, SJ
JournalJ Fish Dis
Date Published2012 Apr
KeywordsAir Sacs, Animals, Barotrauma, Chlorides, Fish Proteins, Fisheries, Hydrocortisone, Perciformes, Potassium, Recovery of Function, Sodium, Somatomedins

Overfished species of rockfish, Sebastes spp., from the Northeast Pacific experience high bycatch mortality because of 'barotrauma', a condition induced from the rapid change in pressure during capture. Field experiments show that it may be possible for rockfish to recover from barotrauma if quickly recompressed; however, no work has followed the physiological recovery of rockfish after recompression or determined whether it is possible for rockfish to survive barotrauma in the long term. Barotrauma was induced in adult black rockfish, Sebastes melanops Girard, from a simulated depth of 35 m, followed by recompression. Blood and selected tissues (eye, heart ventricle, head kidney, liver, rete mirabile and gonad) were sampled at days 3, 15 and 31 post-recompression to evaluate the tissue- and physiologic-level response during recovery. No mortality from barotrauma occurred during the experiments, and feeding resumed in 80% of both treatment and control fish. The primary injury in treatment fish was the presence of a ruptured swimbladder and/or a ruptured tunica externa (outer layer of swimbladder), which was slow to heal. Blood plasma was analysed for glucose, sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, insulin-like growth factor-1 and cortisol. Plasma analyses indicated no strong effects because of barotrauma, suggesting overall handling stress outweighed any effect from barotrauma. Rockfish with ruptured swimbladders may face compromised competency in the wild; however, it appears the majority of black rockfish decompressed from 35 m have a high potential for recovery if recompressed immediately after capture. This research suggests recompression could be a valuable bycatch mortality reduction tool for rockfish in recreational fisheries.

Alternate JournalJ Fish Dis
PubMed ID27081752