When choosing a fish marking technique to address fishery related questions, it is important to consider factors that affect mark retention. Calcein, a chemical marking agent, is under investigation for potential use on fish. Two laboratory trials were conducted with calcein-marked lake trout Salvelinus namaycush to determine the effect of artificial sunlight on calcein mark intensity. In trial 1, fish exposed to 18,000 lx for 7 d lost 90% or more of the calcein mark intensity (relative to the colorimetric key, mg/L) on the head, body, ventral region, and pectoral fins relative to mark intensity in fish that were maintained in darkness. In trial 2, light intensity was reduced 2.5-3.0-fold. After 7 d of light exposure, calcein mark intensity on the head was reduced by 40-45% relative to mark intensity in fish that were held in darkness; by day 14, calcein mark intensity on the head was reduced by 55-60% relative to that of dark-treated fish. No further decline was observed in light-exposed fish, and head mark intensity values did not differ among days 14, 21, and 28 for this treatment group. Of the four areas evaluated, the head and pectoral fin were more easily read using a colorimetric key than the lateral or ventral regions of the fish. The concentration of calcein spotted on filter paper to devise the colorimetric key ranged from 1 to 100 mg/L. A difference of approximately 7 mg/L in apparent calcein mark intensity means for the head region could be detected using the colorimetric key. These trials showed that calcein mark intensity on lake trout declined when fish were exposed to artificial sunlight, and the use of a colorimetric key improved the objectivity of calcein mark intensity assessment.
Additional publication details
Effect of artificial sunlight on the retention of external calcein marks on lake trout