Stocking and Handling-induced Stress in Red Drum Fingerlings

Stress induced by handling, hauling, and net confinement was evaluated in 0.2-0.8-g red drum fingerlings (Sciaenops ocellatus). Changes in plasma glucose concentrations were used as general indicators of stress, and changes in plasma chloride concentrations were used as indicators of osmoregulatory dysfunction. Hematocrit dynamics were also monitored. Net confinement (for ≤ 9 hours) and transport (for ≤ 10.0 hours) caused elevated plasma chloride concentrations and decreased hematocrit. Changes in plasma glucose concentrations in net confined and hauled fish were not consistent. Fifty percent cumulative mortality was observed after 9 hours of net confinement. Almost no mortality occurred during transport. Fingerling red drum, subjected to short term stressors, such as standard hauling and stocking procedures, generally respond well, but some may die shortly after removal of the stressors.

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