swim bladder

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To fizz or not to fizz, that is the question a lot of yellow perch fishermen have been asking lately. As you can see by this sonar shot, yellow perch can hold in a wide range of depths this time of year in the Chesapeake Bay. At issue is that a few of the fish we catch from the deepest water come up with distended swim bladders. Since we inevitably land a few that are under the legal size limit, they have to be released.  Because of all the air in their bodies, they can’t always swim back down.  This leaves them floating on top of the water where they are vulnerable to birds and other predators. The practice of puncturing a fishes swim bladder with a hypodermic needle or other sharp object to relieve pressure is called fizzing.  It works for some species, but for others it isn’t such a good idea.  What about yellow perch? This week, I put the question to the experts. I spoke with several fisheries biologists I know, including some at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  Here’s what I learned. Read More!