On relieving barotrauma problems in deepwater rockfish
Question: Whenever I pull up one of the rockfish species that is not legal to keep, its swim bladder is usually so full of air that even if I throw it back it will still die. What’s the point in throwing them back if they’re just going to die anyway?
I’ve heard that pulling the fish slowly up to the surface minimizes the pressure change damage and gives the fish the best chance of survival when thrown back. If the fish is too inflated, we poke it with a needle in its side to relieve the gas pressure and the fish always goes right down again. Is this the best way to get an over-inflated fish back down so it will survive to be caught another day?