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Help Reef Fish Survive Release with Free Gear

Return ‘Em Right is a coalition of organizations committed to increasing the survival of reef fish that are caught and released in the Gulf of Mexico. The project is now making training and gear available to interested recreational fish anglers in the Gulf. Anglers can visit to be one of the first to get free gear (valued at $100).

The project’s goal is to increase survival of reef fish that are caught and released by providing tens of thousands of interested anglers with an opportunity to learn best release practices. In return, anglers receive a package of free release gear that will help reduce fish mortality from barotrauma, a pressure-related injury. Improving survival of reef fish that are released immediately benefits both anglers and the ecosystem.

Barotrauma: What Makes Fish Float

Many anglers have experienced the unpleasant sight of reef fish, such as snappers and groupers, floating away on the surface after release. Floaters occur due to barotrauma, a pressure-related injury that fish experience when reeled up from depth. The change in pressure from the seafloor to ocean surface causes gas within the body and tissues of fish to expand. This displaces their organs and leaves the fish bloated and unable to return to depth.

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