Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Evaluation of surgical implantation of electronic tags in European eel and effects of different suture materials

Eva B. Thorstad A E , Finn Økland A , Håkan Westerberg B , Kim Aarestrup C and Julian D. Metcalfe D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), PO Box 5685 Sluppen, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway.

B Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Institute of Freshwater Research, 17893 Drottningholm, Sweden.

C Technical University of Denmark, Section for Freshwater Fisheries and Ecology, Vejlsøvej 39, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark.

D Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Lowestoft Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, UK.

E Corresponding author. Email: eva.thorstad@nina.no

Marine and Freshwater Research 64(4) 324-331 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF12217
Submitted: 14 August 2012  Accepted: 29 January 2013   Published: 10 April 2013

Abstract

Effects of implanting data-storage tags in European eel, Anguilla anguilla, and the suitability of different suture materials (braided permanent silk, permanent monofilament, absorbable and absorbable antibacterial) were examined. The tags consisted of an electronic unit and three floats on a wire, making them flexible and able to follow the swimming movements of the eel. No mortality occurred, and tagged fish did not differ from the control fish in growth. Sutures were shed or dissolved slowly. After 4 weeks, there was no difference among the groups in the proportion of sutures left. After 6 months, fish with braided silk had largely shed their sutures, fish with monofilament sutures had the majority of sutures left, whereas the fish with absorbable sutures were intermediate in between. Fish with monofilament sutures showed the least-extensive inflammation reactions and fastest wound healing. Antibacterial treatment had no effect on inflammation or healing rates. After 6 months, the tag started to become expelled through the incision in five fish (12%). The internal reaction appeared stronger around the floats, suggesting that the coating material of the floats created a tissue reaction, which should be further investigated. Intraperitoneal implantation appears to be a suitable tagging method for European silver eel, and it is recommended to close incisions using permanent monofilament sutures.

Additional keywords: Anguilla anguilla, archival tag, body implant, DST, tagging effect, telemetry.


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