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

Hooking mortality of two species of shallow-water reef fish caught by recreational angling methods

B. K. Diggles and I. Ernst

Marine and Freshwater Research 48(6) 479 - 483
Published: 1997


The hooking mortality of two teleosts, the yellow stripey Lutjanus carponotatus (Lutjanidae), and the wire netting cod Epinephelus quoyanus (Serranidae), was examined for fish captured with lures and bait from shallow waters (<2 m) on the Great Barrier Reef. Total mortality for both species (n = 340 fish) over the 48-h observation period was low (1.76%). Baitfishing with single hooks caused a significantly higher post-release mortality rate (5.1%) than did lure fishing with treble or single hooks (0.4%), and was the hooking method most likely to cause bleeding and damage to vital organs. Death of fish was observed only in instances where hooks penetrated the pericardium or body cavity. Handling time was significantly affected by fish size and hooking location, did not vary significantly between fish species, and was significantly reduced when barbless hooks were used in both lure and baitfishing. One specimen of each species, deeply hooked in the gut or oesophagus while baitfishing, was allowed to retain the hook; both fish survived and subsequently regurgitated the hook during the observation period. The relevance of these data to management of line fisheries on the Great Barrier Reef is discussed.

© CSIRO 1997

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