Monthly Archives: September 2013

New Fish Descending Gear Videos for Anglers

barotraumaOver the past year and half Florida Sea Grant has been working with fishermen to evaluate the practical use of various of fish descending devices that can be used to quickly return fish suffering from barotrauma (Please see the past Marine Scene Plus article by John Stevely.) In an effort to continue educating anglers about the benefits of rapid recompresison and fish descending tools, Florida Sea Grant has put together several short video clips that demonstrate three kinds of fish descending gear. The intent of the videos is not to promote one particular type of gear, but to give anglers an idea of the  types of devices that are now available to them. In fact, as more anglers become aware of these devices, many are creating similar devices that work best for them.

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Salty Topics Seminar Series Kicks off 3rd Year!

GreeningThe Salty Topics Marine Research Seminar Series is excited to Kick off its 3rd year! The UF IFAS Pinellas County Sea Grant Extension series has presented topics such as Red Tide, Fisheries Management, Hurricane Damage Assessment and Prediction, Oil Spill Updates, Real-Time Ocean Monitoring, and More!

The Series will kick off at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702 on Thursday, October 3rd at 6:45pm. Holly Greening, Director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, will present “Restoring Tampa Bay: 25 Years of Progress”.  Register online at

Sunset over Sunshine Skyway

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New Venting Tool Regulations in the Gulf of Mexico

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEffective September 3rd, 2013 fishermen targeting reef fish such as grouper and snapper in the Gulf of Mexico will no longer be required to use venting tools to treat fish suffering from barotrauma. Barotrauma is the rapid expansion of gases inside a fish’s swim bladder due to changes in pressure when brought to the surface. Venting is the process of releasing these trapped gases by inserting a sharpened, hollow needle into the side of the fish, which has shown to be a useful method for returning fish back to depth. However, while venting can be attributed to increased survival rates for some species, research for many other is either lacking or inconclusive, particularly in deeper waters. In addition, new gear known as fish descending devices can be used to return fish back to depth without the need of venting in many cases. Research from the U.S. Pacific coast has shown that fish descending devices have been highly effective at increasing the survival rates of several species of released rockfish. It is hoped that these devices will have similar results for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. Because of the reasons, the Gulf Council voted to remove the venting requirement. It is important to note, however, that both venting and descending devices are options of last resort and should only be used if fish can’t get back down on their own. Knowing when and how to properly use these devices is key to improving the survival rates of fish that are released. To learn more Florida Sea Grant will be hosting an online webinar Wednesday, Sept 11 from 6:30-7:30 pm that will discuss barotrauma and tools and tips for releasing fish in deep waters. The webinar is free, but you must register by visiting:
For any questions, contact Bryan Fluech at

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