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NY Currents Clip: Reducing Barotrauma Damaging the Lake Erie Yellow Perch Fishery (September 2019)


Reducing Barotrauma Damaging the Lake Erie Yellow Perch Fishery Lake Erie Yellow Perch support one of the largest freshwater commercial fisheries in the world. However, in the deep eastern basin of Lake Erie, Yellow Perch often suffer tissue damage when retrieved by anglers. Stomach eversion and bulging eyes are telltale signs of damage known as barotrauma. Barotrauma is caused by the expanding swim bladder of the fish when retrieved from deep water. As many as 30% of perch are released after caught because they are considered too small to harvest, but if they suffer barotrauma, they are unlikely to survive to become harvestable. Due to the negative impacts this phenomenon is having on valuable Yellow Perch fisheries in Lake Erie, resource managers, anglers and stakeholders identified a need to discuss harvest and barotrauma treatment in the context of Lake Erie Yellow Perch. New York Sea Grant began to address this issue with a workshop featuring respected Lake Erie anglers and a panel of international experts on Yellow Perch barotrauma. The objectives were to exchange information and relevant experiences about barotrauma, and to discuss utility and messaging in the context of barotrauma mitigation techniques. Post-workshop survey feedback from participants has informed the development of NYSG messaging to reduce barotrauma in Yellow Perch in 2019.

Glenn Chapman

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