Effects of short-term holding on fishes: a synthesis and review

Publication Date



FISHES, review, Tracy, Fish, fish facility, handling, transportation, aquaculture, stocking, sport fishery, Fisheries, Water, water quality, density, design, behavior, SYSTEM, growth, swimming, swimming performance, performance, tolerance, species, LIFE, genetic, EXPOSURE, stress, temperature, dissolved oxygen, OXYGEN, salinity, pH, PARAMETERS, PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESS, fish density, survival, competition, cannibalism, predation, DOMINANCE HIERARCHIES, collection, transport, DELTA, California

Publication place

Springfield, VA


National Technical Information Service

Series Title

Tracy Fish Facility Studies Vol. 29


Collecting, handling, sorting, holding, and transportation in aquaculture, stocking programs, fish salvage, and commercial and sport fisheries can be stressful to the affected fishes. Stress-related effects of short-term holding are influenced by water quality, confinement density, holding container design, and agonistic and predation-associated behaviors. These effects can be manifested as suppressed immune systems, decreased growth, poor swimming performance, loss of reproductive capacity, or death. Holding tolerance may depend upon the species, life stage, genetic background, or strain, previous exposure to stress, and behavior of the held fish. Temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, carbon dioxide, pH, alkalinity, hardness, ammonia, and nitrite are the most common water quality parameters affecting physiological stress. High fish densities and holding container designs may also compromise survival and immune function by affecting water quality and aggressive fish interactions. Lastly, fish held for relatively short durations are influenced by agonistic behaviors associated with competition, cannibalism, predation, and nascent dominance hierarchies. This synthesis summarizes literature concerning the effects of short-term holding on the condition of fishes and provides a review to assist researchers and mangers in working towards implementing improvements for fish collection, holding, and transport, especially at fish salvage facilities in the South Delta, California.

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