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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Olla, B.L., M.W. Davis, and C.B. Schreck. 1997. Effects of simulated trawling on sablefish and walleye pollock: the role of light intensity, net velocity and towing duration. Journal of Fish Biology 50:1181-1194.


Laboratory apparatus which simulated capture of fish in the cod-end of a towed trawl was used to induce post-capture stress as measured by alterations in behavioural, physiological and mortality indices in juvenile walleye pollock Theragra chalcogramma and juvenile and adult sablefish Anoplopoma fimbria. Differences in resistance to net entrainment varied between species with the severity of stress and the potential for recovery depending on light intensity, net velocity and towing duration. At a light intensity which simulated daylight at depth in clear ocean water (0.5 µmol photons m-2 s-1), walleye pollock juveniles were able to maintain swimming in nets towed at 0.65 m s-1 for 3 h with no discernible effects on behaviour or mortality. However, when net velocity was increased to >0.75 m s-1 or light intensity was decreased to <0.002 µmol photons m-2 s-1, fish became entrained in the meshes of the net and exhibited significant alterations in feeding behaviour, predator evasion and increases in plasma cortisol concentrations. Marked increases in stress-induced mortality also occurred, in some cases after a delay of 6 days and eventually reaching 100%. In comparison with walleye pollock, sablefish juveniles became entrained in the meshes of the net at higher velocities (>0.92 m s-1) or lower light intensities (<0.0004 µmol photons m-2 s-1) and were much more resistant to post-capture stress. Towing of net-entrained fish for 15 min caused no detectable changes in feeding and cortisol and for 2 h, no changes in feeding although mortality increased from 0% for l5-min tows to 19% for 2-h tows. Towing for 4 h caused significant alterations in feeding and cortisol with feeding recovering to control levels by 6 days and cortisol by 3 days; mortality was 25%. When adult sablefish were towed for 4 h followed by l5-min exposure to air, feeding was inhibited 6 days after towing, but recovered within 30 days with no mortality observed after 30 days. The results demonstrate the value of using laboratory-based behavioural and biochemical indices to identify factors that may potentially affect post-capture survival among different species of fish.


Last updated 30 March, 2009

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