Channel Islands

Rockfish Barotrauma Release Information

Photograph provided by Daniel Gotshall

What is Barotrauma?

All rockfishe possess a closed swim bladder (a gas-filled organ that regulates buoyancy). When fish are brought up from depth, decreasing pressure allows the gas to expand which may cause injury and prevent the fish from returning to depth under its own power. Visible symptoms of gas expansion include a swollen and tight belly, stomach protruding past the gullet and into the mouth, and distended and/or "crystallized" eyes. Miraculously, many rockfish can recover from barotrauma if they are properly released to their respective depths as soon as possible.

Rockfish Barotrauma Release Information for Fish Descenders.  

For more information on barotrauma and techniques and tips to properly and safely release rockfish. please refer to the Bring that Rockfish Down brochure.


Story from California Sea Grant

"Bring That Rockfish Down"


Southwest Fisheries Science Center