The effects of venting and decompression on Yellow Tang ( Zebrasoma flavescens ) in the marine ornamental aquarium fish trade . Munday, E., S., Tissot, B., N., Heidel, J., R., & Miller-Morgan, T. PeerJ, 3:e756, PeerJ, 2, 2015.
 The effects of venting and decompression on Yellow Tang ( Zebrasoma flavescens ) in the marine ornamental aquarium fish trade  [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
© 2015 Munday et al. Each year, over 45 countries export 30 million fish from coral reefs as part of the global marine ornamental aquarium trade. This catch volume is partly influenced by collection methods that cause mortality. Barotrauma in fish resulting fromforced ascent from depth can contribute to post-collection mortality. However, implementing decompression stops during ascent can prevent barotrauma. Conversely, venting (puncturing the swim bladder to release expanded internal gas) following ascent can mitigate some signs of barotrauma like positive buoyancy. Here, we evaluate how decompression and venting affect stress and mortality in the Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens). We examined the effects of three ascent treatments, each with decompression stops of varying frequency and duration, coupled with or without venting, on sublethal effects and mortality using histology and serum cortisol measurements. In fish subjected to ascent without decompression stops or venting, a mean post-collection mortality of 6.2% occurred within 24 h of capture. Common collection methods in the fishery, ascent without decompression stops coupled with venting, or one long decompression stop coupled with venting, resulted in no mortality. Histopathologic examination of heart, liver, head kidney, and swim bladder tissues in fish 0d and 21d post-collection revealed no significant barotraumaor venting-related lesions in any treatment group. Ascent without decompression stops resulted in significantly higher serum cortisol than ascent with many stops, while venting alone did not affect cortisol. Future work should examine links in the supply chain following collection to determine if further handling and transport stressors affect survivorship and sublethal effects.

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