Friday, June 9, 2017

Reef fish fishermen needed for descending-device citizen science study

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is looking for reef fish fishermen and charterboat captains who would like to help them in a descending-device citizen science study.

Descending devices are tools used to recompress the swim bladder and increase a fish’s chance of survival when they cannot be kept and are experiencing barotrauma.

Barotrauma is when a fish's swim bladder expands when a fish is brought up from depths greater than 50 feet.

Signs of barotrauma include the stomach coming out of the mouth, bulging eyes, bloated belly and distended intestines.

As a citizen science partner, you will test a descending device and help identify the benefits and drawbacks of using the tool when fishing in deeper waters.

The information will be used to inform and improve efforts to increase the survival of caught and released reef fish.

To participate, prospective participants must first answer general screening questions.

Randomly-selected participants will then watch a tutorial on descending devices, complete an initial evaluation, and test a descending device during the trial period from July 1, through Sept. 30, 2017.

When the trial period ends, participants must complete a detailed post-evaluation about their experience.

Preliminary results of the evaluation will be available in late 2017.

To apply for an opportunity to participate in this study, just follow the link we've set up on this story at or on the Oyster Radio facebook page.