descending devices
Recent closures of several Gulf reef fish fisheries (eg. red snapper and groupers) have focused attention on the importance of survival of fish caught in deeper water. These fish are particularly susceptible to mortality from barotrauma, the bloat and internal organ damage caused by pressure change. If discard mortality can be reduced, there is hope that the severity of closures and bag limits could be lessened and consequently reduce the economic impact on recreational angling and charter boat industries.

The best methods for ensuring survival entail using a recompression technique that safely returns the fish to depths, minimizing injury.

Florida Sea Grant has played a leadership role in disseminating information on successful deep water release practices, including educating anglers on proper use of venting practices. There is now a need to begin evaluating the practicalities of new techniques from the U.S. West Coast in Gulf fisheries.

Florida Sea Grant Extension Agents are now familiarizing themselves with the new gear and practices developed on the west coast and will begin introducing these techniques to angler in the Gulf to determine if they are practical for Gulf fishing conditions.
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