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Effect of changes in hook pattern and size on catch rate, hooking location, injury and bleeding for a number of tropical reef fish species

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Mapleston, A., Welch, D., Begg, G.A., McLennan, M. F., Mayer, D. G. and Brown, I. W. (2008) Effect of changes in hook pattern and size on catch rate, hooking location, injury and bleeding for a number of tropical reef fish species. Fisheries Research, 91 (2-3). pp. 203-211.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2007.11.026


The Queensland Great Barrier Reef line fishery in Australia is regulated via a range of input and output controls including minimum size limits, daily catch limits and commercial catch quotas. As a result of these measures a substantial proportion of the catch is released or discarded. The fate of these released fish is uncertain, but hook-related mortality can potentially be decreased by using hooks that reduce the rates of injury, bleeding and deep hooking. There is also the potential to reduce the capture of non-target species though gear selectivity. A total of 1053 individual fish representing five target species and three non-target species were caught using six hook types including three hook patterns (non-offset circle, J and offset circle), each in two sizes (small 4/0 or 5/0 and large 8/0). Catch rates for each of the hook patterns and sizes varied between species with no consistent results for target or non-target species. When data for all of the fish species were aggregated there was a trend for larger hooks, J hooks and offset circle hooks to cause a greater number of injuries. Using larger hooks was more likely to result in bleeding, although this trend was not statistically significant. Larger hooks were also more likely to foul-hook fish or hook fish in the eye. There was a reduction in the rates of injuries and bleeding for both target and non-target species when using the smaller hook sizes. For a number of species included in our study the incidence of deep hooking decreased when using non-offset circle hooks, however, these results were not consistent for all species. Our results highlight the variability in hook performance across a range of tropical demersal finfish species. The most obvious conservation benefits for both target and non-target species arise from using smaller sized hooks and non-offset circle hooks. Fishers should be encouraged to use these hook configurations to reduce the potential for post-release mortality of released fish.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:© Crown Copyright.
Keywords:Circle hooks; Great Barrier Reef; hook location; post-release survival; reef line fishery.
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Methods and gear. Catching of fish
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery conservation
Live Archive:02 Feb 2009 04:29
Last Modified:31 Jan 2023 02:41

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