An Evaluation of Livewell Transport as a Factor Contributing to Physiological Stress in Smallmouth Bass at Competitive Angling Events
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This study was conducted to improve our understanding of the biological impacts of competitive angling events on fish. More specifically, this study examines the impacts of transporting Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the livewells of bassboats on large water bodies. Fish were transported in an experimental livewell that recorded the amount of water turbulence experienced by the fish held in the tank, in Force (0.84ft2/lb/sec). A video recording of the transportation process was also taken to determine the amount of interactions between the fish and the walls of the livewell. It was determined that as water activity increased, so did the mean number of impacts per minute. In addition, as the number of impacts increased, so did the concentration of plasma lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Levels of plasma LDH and creatine phosphokinase (CPK) were compared between fish that were transported in a padded livewell and fish that were transported in an unpadded livewell. Fish that were transported in an unpadded livewell showed significantly higher levels of both LDH and CPK (P < 0.05). Fish that were transported in the padded livewell did not show significantly higher levels of LDH or CPK than the control groups. This indicates that transportation of Smallmouth bass in livewells causes cellular damage and that this damage can be mitigated by simple modifications to the interior of the livewell.