The intracoelomic surgical implantation of telemetry transmitters in fish is becoming the “standard” tagging approach for most field telemetry studies. Subsequently, efforts must be made to ensure the welfare of the fish are maintained and that fish do not experience significant mortality or sublethal impairments in health, behavior or physiology as a result of surgical procedures. Therefore, it is essential to adequately report information relating to all aspects of the surgical procedure to enable the reader to make an accurate interpretation of study results. We conducted a quantitative literature review aimed at characterizing trends in data reporting by examining a sample of fish telemetry studies published in peer-reviewed outlets during the last 20 years. We used a repeatability score, based on 16 predetermined criteria, to evaluate the reporting of surgical procedures in telemetry studies. The majority of studies failed to report basic information relating to the surgical procedures used. Repeatability scores were highly variable between studies and ranged from 0–93.8%. No single study provided complete information (mean repeatability score = 50.7%) and repeatability showed no trend over time. Some study information was consistently well reported (e.g. tag size and dimensions, the type of anaesthetic used and the location of incision). In contrast, the type of suture knots, duration or level of anaesthesia and precautions taken to minimize infection were consistently left out of the methods section of most telemetry studies. Our review was confounded by the large proportion of studies that cited other sources for their surgical methods, many of which themselves lacked complete information. We recommend that future electronic tagging studies that involve intracoelomic implantation include the minimum reporting standards presented in this paper. Increasing the detail of reporting will improve the quality of data presented, minimize welfare and ethical concerns and allow transparency for study repeatability.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 21, 2010
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