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Subject: Re: Killing fish larvae
From: "Bruce C. Pease" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 8 Mar 2000 10:17:21 +0000
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> Date:          Tue, 7 Mar 2000 14:58:41 +1000
> Reply-to:      Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
> From:          Paul Humphries <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:       Killing fish larvae
> To:            [log in to unmask]

> Dear All,
>
> We have been sampling fish larvae for about five years and we have now come to
> the attention of Animal Ethics bureaucrats who are concerned about how we are
> killing our fish larvae.  We cannot use formalin in our research centre for
> health reasons and, since we need to look at otoliths of some of the larvae, we
> usually throw larvae <10 mm in lenghth straight into 95% ethanol.  My experience
> is that the larvae die within a second or so and surely this must be as'humane'
> as any method.  Juveniles and adults are anaesthetised first before being put
> into alcohol.  The bureaucrats have queried the use of ethanol and put me under
> pressure to justify this method.  Can anyone out there point me to 'official'
> guidelines for the 'humane' killing of fish larvae?
>
Paul

The NSW Fisheries Animal Care and Ethics Committee specifies
euthenasia with 100 ppm benzocaine for juvenile fish.  We are
sampling Anguillid glass eels and I must admit that the benzocaine
appears to be a more humane way of putting them down than putting
them directly into ethanol.  We have seen other people putting them
into ethanol (of course we would never try this ourselves) and they
literally jump out of the sample containers (you have to be
pretty quick at putting the lid on).  These samples are then harder
to ID because the fins are clamped and the bodies are contorted.
When put into  benzocaine solution in a bucket their swimming speed
increases momentarily before gradually slowing and losing equilibrium
(we like to think they are going to sleep).  After about 2 minutes
the nice straight little relaxed bodies are  removed from the bucket
and put into sample containers with ethanol and the benzocaine bucket
is then ready for the next sample.

I still complain about all the bureaucracy associated with the animal
care and ethics requirements but I must admit that stopping to take a
harder look at the way we do things is usually a good thing.


Bruce Pease                     Phone:+61 2 9527 8411
Scientist, Estuarine Fisheries  Fax:  +61 2 9527 8576
NSW Fisheries                   Email:[log in to unmask]
Fisheries Research Institute
202 Nicholson Parade
Cronulla, NSW 2228

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