The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) wants volunteers, whether anglers or charter captains, to participate in a citizen science study on descending devices.
These tools are used to recompress the swim bladder and increase a fish’s chance of survival when they cannot be kept and are experiencing barotrauma. which is swim-bladder expansion 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.
Participants would 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 learn why some anglers might not use these tools and to improve efforts to increase the survival of caught-and-released reef fish.
Prospective participants must first answer screening questions. Randomly selected participants will 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. Once the trial period ends, participants will complete a detailed post-evaluation about their experience. The deadline for submitting the evaluation will be Oct. 15. Preliminary results will be available in late 2017.
To participate in this study, apply here by answering the general screening questions. To learn more about barotrauma, visit the FWC’s YouTube channel. For additional information, call 850-487-0554 or email [email protected].