Rockfish in West Coast waters, as well as the sport anglers who catch them, are benefiting from the research of former CSULB marine biology graduate student Erica Jarvis and the lab of Biological Sciences' Chris Lowe on how to properly return undersized fish to the sea in order to increase fish populations.
“As the result of Erica Jarvis’ research, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), along with the California Sea Grant program, have produced a color brochure that will be handed out to fishers to conserve rockfish,” Lowe said. “Erica also played a major role in the development of this brochure and CSULB is prominently noted in the document. This is on their Web site and will be given out to thousands of fishers statewide. It’s great to see science in action.” USC Sea Grant and Oregon Sea Grant also contributed to producing the brochure.
Titled “Bring That Rockfish Down,” the brochure is available on the Department of Fish and Game Web site.
Rockfish, among other species, have anatomy and physiology that when they are brought to the surface, their stomachs and eyes often bulge out because of “barotrauma,” damage from the rapid change in pressure. Young, small fish that don’t meet DFG size requirements often are just tossed back into the water, where they may die because they can’t swim back down or are eaten by sea birds and other predators.
Jarvis, now a DFG marine biologist, studied the effects of recompression methods that anglers can use to quickly return the fish to deep water, as well as how fast the fish need to return in order to improve survival.
Their research has been published in several fisheries publications and will appear in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.