Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 51–59 | Cite as

A review of tricaine methanesulfonate for anesthesia of fish

  • Kathleen M. CarterEmail author
  • Christa M. Woodley
  • Richard S. Brown
Research Paper


Tricaine methanesulfonate (TMS) is an anesthetic that is approved for provisional use in some jurisdictions such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom (UK). Many hatcheries and research studies use TMS to immobilize fish for marking or transport and to suppress sensory systems during invasive procedures. Improper TMS use can decrease fish viability, distort physiological data, or result in mortalities. Because animals may be anesthetized by junior staff or students who may have little experience in fish anesthesia, training in the proper use of TMS may decrease variability in recovery, experimental results and increase fish survival. This document acts as a primer on the use of TMS for anesthetizing juvenile salmonids, with an emphasis on its use in surgical applications. Within, we briefly describe many aspects of TMS including the legal uses for TMS, and what is currently known about the proper storage and preparation of the anesthetic. We outline methods and precautions for administration and changes in fish behavior during progressively deeper anesthesia and discuss the physiological effects of TMS and its potential for compromising fish health. Despite the challenges of working with TMS, it is currently one of the few legal options available in the USA and in other countries until other anesthetics are approved and is an important tool for the intracoelomic implantation of electronic tags in fish.


Anesthesia TMS MS222 FDA Salmonids 



This research was funded by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District. With appreciation, we acknowledge the technical contributions of our anonymous reviewers, Andrea Currie, Andrea LeBarge, Carmina Arimescu, and James Boyd of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Brad Eppard of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, Steven Cooke of Carleton University and Glenn Wagner of Environmental Dynamics Inc.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V.  2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathleen M. Carter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christa M. Woodley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard S. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecology GroupPacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA
  2. 2.Marine Biotechnology Group, Marine Sciences LaboratoryPacific Northwest National LaboratorySequimUSA

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