Bonefish Tournaments, Oxygenated Livewells

WEBSITE UPDATED             Tuesday  February 21, 2022    

LIVEWELL HYPOXIA (LACK OF OXYGEN IN LIVEWELL/BAIT TANK WATER) WILL SUFFOCATE, KILL   BONEFISH TRANSPORTED IN LIVEWELLS IN SUMMER TOURNAMENTS. THE OXYGEN EDGE™ INSURES OPTIMAL SAFE, CONTINUOUS OXYGENATION ALL DAY, BONEFISH CONSERVATION IS IMPORTANT. JUST DIAL IN THE CORRECT DOSE OF PURE OXYGEN BASES ON THE STOCKING DENSITY AND PREVENT LIVEWELL SUFFOCATION, HYPOXIA AND HIGH SUMMER TRANSPORT MORTALITY/MORBIDITY.

FACT: WINNING BONEFISH TOURNAMENT MONEY, PRIZE IS THE PROMARY GOAL. IF 1 BONEFISH DIES IN YOUR LIVEWELL Or THE WEIGHMASTER JUDGES YOUR FISH DEAD IN SUMMER TOURNAMENTS, YOU WILL LOSE THE MONEY, PRIZE. THAT IS A FACT

Tournament bonefish angled in summer tournaments need safe continuous safe oxygenation continuously in closed boat livewells in the summer. Without enough dissolved oxygen provided continuously in livewell transport water. Insuring safe, continuous oxygenation during live transport IS always the contestant’s responsibility. Suffocation, hypoxia, hypoxic stress, high summer mortality and morbidity is imminent and predictable in most summer tournaments… count on it.

FACT: Many tournament anglers turn off their livewell water pumps/aerators when fishing shallow flats because electric pumps make too much noise and bonefish spook easily. When the livewell water pumps are turned off, the livewell oxygen saturation can fall quickly to dangerously low hypoxic levels resulting in additional transport stress. Hypoxia is the most serious stressor for tournament fish being transported all day in boat livewells.

Dissolved oxygen saturation (DO Sat) levels in livewells often falls to dangerously low levels when anglers turn off livewell water pumps and aerators. There’s no fresh water pumped into the livewell continuously for long periods of time in the flats as fish consume available oxygen and excrete CO2 that increases acid concentrations in livewell water.

FACT: Most tournament fishermen that do turn off their noisy livewell pumps when fishing shallow water flats do worry continuously about the negative effects of low oxygen levels in livewells, dying and dead fish and the dead fish penalties in every summer C&R tournament.

FACT: When the livewell pumps/aerators are not humming, the fishermen’s stress always increases. That stress is constant and palpable, but not threatening … the captive bonefish transported in hypoxic livewells  experience far more stress than the fishermen, their stress is far more serious. Life-threatening stress, frank suffocation applied hour after hour coupled with other major stressors in summer live fish transports is deadly.

FACT: Administering an uncontrolled dose supplemental oxygen is not risk free. The dose of oxygen delivered into the livewell must be regulated and controlled by the fisherman. Providing too much oxygen may be as deadly as not providing enough oxygen all day in boat livewells for tournament Bones.

Of course, Bonefish need a steady supply of oxygen like all aerobic animals and will suffocate without enough oxygen like people. Hypoxic human neonates and a category of patients with advanced COPD need supplemental oxygen but giving them too much oxygen can suppress breathing resulting in hypoventilation, >PCO2 and respiratory acidosis.

These patients are commonly called “Pink Puffers.” Administering too much oxygen may cause blindness (retrolental fibroplasia) in neonates and suppress respiration (hypoventilation) or cause respiratory arrest in COPD patents — without appropriate knowledge and training uncontrolled oxygen administration can be deadly for fish being transported as well as humans.

Anglers administering supplemental oxygen must take great care to not over-oxygenate livewell water when transporting Bonefish in livewells. Excessive over-oxygenation may reduce recovery time post live release. It is common that sharks thrive on recovering Bonefish. Reducing the post release recover time can be vital.

The Oxygen Edge™ regulator ensures the correct dose of oxygen is delivered when the dose is adjusted correctly. Dial in the total weight (total pounds of bonefish) of your catch on the OE regulator and be assured the correct dose of oxygen will be delivered… over or under oxygenation and be deadly. Open the oxygen cylinder valve, dial in the correct dose of oxygen on the oxygen regulator. T

The correct dose of oxygen is based on the total weight of the stocking density, not the livewell water volume. More fish require a greater dose of oxygen, less fish require a smaller dose of oxygen. The amount of dissolved oxygen the total catch needs in the livewell has nothing to do with the physical characteristics of the livewell, the size, shape, color or volume of water in the livewell.

Bonefish and Tarpon Unlimited is made up of recreational anglers, guides, and marine industry leaders dedicated to increasing our knowledge of bonefish and tarpon biology so we can better manage these species and ensure the fisheries for future generations.

Maintaining normobaric dissolved oxygen saturation at are near 100% DO Saturation is vital for captive bonefish being transported in closed boat livewells all day and confined in tournament holding tanks as the biomass of fish changes. Fish being angled, added, transported in boat livewells and held collectively in holding tanks requires additional oxygen. Dissolved oxygen meters are used to test Dissolved Oxygen Saturation and Dissolved Oxygen Concentrations.

It is vital to know what to do when you test your DO saturation and discover the test results to be either too low or too high. What to do with the test results is simple… If your DO tests are too low, increase the dose of oxygen. If the oxygen tests too high, reduce the dose of oxygen… this is very simple. Whatever you chose to do, remember to keep your livewell water continuously saturated with dissolved oxygen for the duration of the live transport. Never allow your O2 cylinder become depleted of oxygen.

The angler and tournament organizers are both responsible for ensuring minimal safe DO Saturations while the fish are being transported, in human captivity.

100% Oxygen saturation should be maintained and monitored intermittently throughout the day or night by all responsible contestants on boats and all tournament organizers including when the fish are transferred into hospital holding tanks and release boat livewells. The oxygen saturation and concentration can only be determined by testing with a dissolved oxygen meter, then the dose of oxygen delivered may be either increased or decreased and maintained at 100% DO Saturation (+ or – 1-2%) throughout transport and captivity. This is more critical in summer tournaments when environmental water temperatures exceed 75 F – 95 F.