Device returns deep water fish to natural habitat - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

Device returns deep water fish to natural habitat

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's rockfish season and wildlife conservationists are coming up with new ways to save the lives of fish that are caught by accident.

The waters off San Diego are home to many protected deep water fish that are killed by the change in pressure when they are brought to the surface.

Their eyes pop out of their heads and they float like balloons, unable to sink back to their natural depths.

Conservationists are offering several devices that are designed to safely clamp onto the fish, and release them far below the surface where they belong.

"We've been trying to get these devices out on every sport boat. These are tools that are made to make the fish go down. Their eyes go back in their head. And swim off and be a happy fish again," said NOAA Fishery Biologist John Hyde.

Some of the fish that have been released with the devices are being monitored to see if they actually survive long enough to reproduce.

If the devices are successful, it could lead to year-round rock fishing.

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