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"Delayed Mortality" Important!

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I found this while I was browsing another site's forums. I wanted to see what everyone here thought about it. It was posted by a guy who calls himself Capt. Mike. I want to give credit where credit is due so after the reading his website and stuff is posted at the bottom..Well anyways here it is.

"I recieved this email from some fellow conservation groups. Now do not get upset about it but do respond to with your thoughts. Also I know it breaks the the 20 line rule but give it try and read it all. Thanks

Capt Mike

The truth about delayed mortality

By Tim Lesmeister

"""In the July 28 issue of Outdoor News there was a wire-service story about an FLW bass tournament on the Mississippi River where the delayed mortality was high. They discovered this because DNR and fishery biology researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point performed a delayed-mortality study. Here is what I find interesting. The comment by a tournament official was, clearly we re all concerned, about the fish deaths. But he adds, we have a lot to learn about how to conduct the study.

I find this comment to be typical of tournament organizers. They should be doing more to make sure those fish don t die instead of blaming the study.

There were two groups of fish in that study: a control group that had been captured by electroshocking that were penned, and a group of tournament fish that had a fin clipped to show they were part of the tournament weigh-in process. The 582 bass that were found dead all had clipped fins.

It never fails. Every time there is a delayed mortality study the tournament fish show up dead and the tournament organizers always try to find fault with the study. The simple truth is that the tournaments are killing the fish.

It s not the anglers that are killing those fish, at least not most of the time on the majority of the fish. Livewells in boats are now coming standard with oxygenating equipment and anglers know how to keep that equipment clean and running. There are times when the water at a weigh-in site is low in oxygen due to stagnation and temperature, but the livewells with oxygenation can negate that condition. There are seldom more than a few fish that were hooked badly that will cause death. The majority of the dead fish, almost all of them, die of suffocation from the boat to the scales.

Tournaments love using bags to hold fish. These plastic bags hold a few gallons of water and a half-dozen fish and anglers are instructed to put the fish in the bag and bring them to the scales. Typically these fish can be in that bag from a minute to an hour or sometimes even longer.

Studies and there have been lots of them show that the oxygen in this bag is depleted in less than two minutes. This means that from two minutes on those fish are suffocating. After about four minutes the fish is basically going to succumb to delayed mortality. From the tournaments I have attended in the past few years I would state that there have been no bag tournaments that did not result in a complete loss of the fish that were brought in to weigh. It s simple math. If the fish are in the bag for more than a few minutes they will die. I have yet to see a bag tournament where this doesn t happen.

But why don t the tournament organizers understand this and quit weighing fish this way? It s too easy to use bags. And, organizers don t immediately see the mortality from their refusal to see the problem.

When bass or walleyes are released after a bag weigh-in, they swim to the bottom where they eventually suffocate. They sit there to deteriorate and be eaten by turtles. Some might bloat and float but they ll get picked up by gulls or turtles or eventually wash away from the tournament site. Organizers are long gone and getting ready for their next kill fest.

Are there long-range implications here? You bet. On Lake Minnetonka where there is a tournament nearly every week from June through August, the delayed mortality is having an effect. I was discussing bass fishing with two guides who spend four to six days a week on this west-metro lake and they say big bass are getting harder to find. One guide spent the entire month of July dragging leeches on the weedline and caught only one bass over four pounds. Just five years ago he was catching five or more a day that size. No, the big bass haven t moved or quit biting, they are gone, many killed by bag tournaments.

What do we do? Require competitive events to make it mandatory that during any tournaments held in periods where the surface water temperature is above 75 degrees every boat must have auxiliary oxygenation equipment in their livewells. There are quite a few manufacturers that sell this equipment.

No more bags for weigh-in unless they are fully flow-through, and holding tanks must be provided to set the bags in while waiting to get on the scales. Perforated plastic boxes have proved to be the best holding device when used in conjunction with holding tanks.

The holding tanks must have water flowing through them or they must be oxygenated. Otherwise the fish-holding environment in those tanks is no better than a bag where the oxygen has been depleted.

The fish should not be released at the weigh-in site but should be shifted to a live-release pontoon for distribution into deeper water, or they can be put back in the angler s livewell for release into deeper water or put back in the spot where they were caught.

Smaller tournaments will say they can t afford this and will suffer. I say you can t afford not to do this. You can t afford the ill-will from the community every time carcasses of tournament fish float up onto the shoreline. You can t afford to have weekend anglers complaining about the poor fishing that is resulting from the constant barrage of bag weigh-ins. It will catch up to you.

The DNR issues permits for tournaments. The above requirements should be stipulated in the permit. A couple of interns should be sent out with an oxygen meter to spot monitor the events and make sure they comply. If not; no more permits for them. I ve been to dozens of tournaments in the past few years and have yet to see a DNR biologist there. It s something that should be a top priority if the resource is valued.

For those who think it s too much trouble to keep the fish alive, kill them. Fishing licenses allows you to harvest a limit. Kill the fish and give them to a food bank. At least they won t rot along a shoreline. But don t blame the data instead of the root cause.

What s that old saying? When you point a finger, you have three pointing back at yourself?""""

Once again thanks for reading it and feel free to comment.

Capt Mike"


Capt Mike Starrett light tackle guide Potomac River


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Guest ouachitabassangler

I couldn't find a thing to disagree with.  :D

I read the initial new write-up and was quite disappointed over the comments from the tournament reps and a few anglers. They tried their best to discredit the counting and research project, but in doing so revealed their ignorance of science and the facts. The impression I got was similar to first hearing people say, upon watching an astronaut walk on the moon, it was a Hollywood stunt, that God would never let a man do that. We don't need spokesmen like those. Stuff like that only strengthens the opponents of fishing, and we don't have the money and clout our opponents have when they decide to act on such ignorance. But, we all know engineers and biologists don't get elected as bass club officers.


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Very good essay.  I have to agree with his conclusions.

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The thing that disappoints me most is the face that hundreds of fish die for no reason at all every tournament at Lake Minnetonka which directly affects me. Lake Minnetonka is only a few hours away from me. Something needs to be done for this because this could turn into a huge problem. The sport needs more funding, more technology, and educated anglers. People need to know that if this continues there will be no bass to fish!

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