Retention of intra-peritoneal transmitters and post-operative recovery of four Australian native fish species
Butler, G.L., McKay, B., Rowland, S.J. and Pease, B.C., 2009. Retention of intra-peritoneal transmitters and post-operative recovery of four Australian native fish species. Marine & Freshwater Research, 60: 361–370.
The damming and diversion of the world’s rivers has permanently changed the natural flow patterns of many systems. Like the rest of the world, Australia’s rivers have also been extensively modified, however, little is known of the effects that altered flows may be having on our native fish species. Radio and acoustic tags offer an effective method of monitoring fish movement, but there is little information on tag retention rates and post-tagging survival for most Australian fish. Four fish species, native to the north-eastern rivers of New South Wales, were surgically implanted with different types of dummy tags to determine retention and incision healing rates. Fish were held in large tanks for experiments and monitored for up to 45 days post-tagging. Eel-tailed catfish were implanted with three types of dummy radio transmitters, and the tag with the shortest externally-exited antenna was found to be the best to use. In Australian bass, low water temperature, breeding condition of females and the breakdown of dissolvable sutures contributed to the expulsion of dummy acoustic transmitters. Freshwater mullet and sea mullet were implanted with dummy acoustic transmitters, and healing rates were found to be different between the two species. This current study demonstrated tag suitability and recovery rates is different among species including those considered to be closely related, there are advantages in holding fish prior to release following the surgical implantation of transmitters, and the value of controlled experiments to determine optimal transmitter design and best post-operative conditions.