The intracoelomic surgical implantation of electronic tags (including radio and acoustic telemetry transmitters, passive integrated transponders and archival biologgers) is frequently used for conducting studies on fish. Electronic tagging studies provide information on the spatial ecology, behavior and survival of fish in marine and freshwater systems. However, any surgical procedure, particularly one where a laparotomy is performed and the coelomic cavity is opened, has the potential to alter the survival, behavior or condition of the animal which can impair welfare and introduce bias. Given that management, regulatory and conservation decisions are based on the assumption that fish implanted with electronic tags have similar fates and behavior relative to untagged conspecifics, it is critical to ensure that best surgical practices are being used. Also, the current lack of standardized surgical procedures and reporting of specific methodological details precludes cross-study and cross-year analyses which would further progress the field of fisheries science. This compilation of papers seeks to identify the best practices for the entire intracoelomic tagging procedure including pre- and post-operative care, anesthesia, wound closure, and use of antibiotics. Although there is a particular focus on salmonid smolts given the large body of literature available on that group, other life-stages and species of fish are discussed where there is sufficient knowledge. Additional papers explore the role of the veterinarian in fish surgeries, the need for minimal standards in the training of fish surgeons, providing a call for more complete and transparent procedures, and identifying trends in procedures and research needs. Collectively, this body of knowledge should help to improve data quality (including comparability and repeatability), enhance management and conservation strategies, and maintain the welfare status of tagged fish.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 30, 2010
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