A new device out of Texas A&M helps ocean fish descend to appropriate depth, and may usher in a longer fishing season.
Check out this video from SeaQualizer, which shows their new fangled contraption that helps safely lower and release fish to the proper depth and avoid barotrauma. There's no poking, venting, or harming the fish or sea bottom in any way.
A few related articles to check out:
The only problem with angling for deep-ocean fish is catch and release doesn't work so well. Fish below a depth of 50 meters have a specially developed swim bladder which allows them to maintain buoyancy at a proper depth, much like the ballast tanks in a submarine.
Unlike the ballast tanks in a submarine, however, once surfaced, these bladders tend to distend and fill with air, making it functionally impossible for fish to return to a depth required for survival. This is called Barotrauma, and it kills fish.
Unfortunately, the system is imperfect, and if your technique is off at all, it can leave the fish wounded, at an unnaturally shallow depth, quite often at greater risk of death.
If fish die after being released, they can't grow bigger to eventually be caught and eaten, and the shorter the season has to be to maintain a healthy population.
Because of this, red snapper (a delicious, delicious fish) season this year in Florida has been reduced to nine days, with a total catch limit of two fish. For us deep water fishing enthusiasts, that's nothing.
Luckily the good students of Texas A&M have a fix: the Seaqualizer. Described as a "rapid re-compression device," the seaqualizer re-submerges fish with a weighted system to their proper depth, so that the gasses in the fishes' blood and swim-bladder don't continue to expand and cause barotrauma and death.
So, in an effort to increase the length of the snapper season, "Stop Vending, Start Descending."
Seaqualizer: awesome idea, or expensive junk?