Efficacy of a starch-iodide swab technique to detect the illegal use of bleach in a Spiny Lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery

David T. Wilson, Duncan Vaughan, Shaun K. Wilson, Carrie N. Simon, Kathy Lockhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The destructive and illegal practice of using chemicals (bleach, dishwashing liquid, gasoline) to catch spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is thought to be common throughout much of the Bahamian Archipelago. Injection of a chemical irritant into a lobster den will result in either a rapid escape response or a subduing effect, both of which make it easier to capture spiny lobster. We used both laboratory and field trials to determine the efficacy of a starch-iodide swab technique to identify lobsters that had been exposed to bleach solution (NaOCl). All lobsters exposed to bleach tested positive immediately following exposure and for varying periods thereafter. No false positives were detected on control lobsters. The average length of time that bleach remained detectable on the exoskeleton was 6.2 and 9.6 h in the laboratory and field, respectively, with some individuals testing positive 12 h after exposure. The swab technique will provide fishery officers with a powerful tool to reduce or eliminate the illegal use of bleach for harvesting spiny lobster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-91
Number of pages6
JournalFisheries Research
Volume90
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

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