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Catch-and-release of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua): post-release behaviour of acoustically pretagged fish in a natural marine environment

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posted on 2023-05-18, 05:18 authored by Ferter, K, Klaas HartmannKlaas Hartmann, Kleiven, AR, Moland, E, Olsen, EM
Studying the sublethal effects of catch-and-release (C&R) is challenging, as there are several potential sources of bias. For example, if behavioural alterations immediately after the release event are to be studied, separation of tagging effects from actual C&R effects is required, which is a challenge in the wild, particularly in marine environments. To investigate the effects of C&R on Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in their natural environment, 80 cod were caught in fyke nets, fitted with acoustic transmitters, and released. After recovery from tagging and handling for at least 14 days, nine individuals were recaptured and released at least once during experimental angling, following best release practice. All cod survived the C&R event and did not show any large-scale behavioural changes (i.e., changes in diel vertical migrations). However, analysis of small-scale vertical movements showed that three individuals underwent short-term alterations (e.g., reduced or increased swimming activity). This study showed that pretagging fish with acoustic transmitters before experimental angling is an option when investigating fish behaviour immediately after the release event in marine environments. Moreover, release guidelines for cod should be developed, as cod can recover quickly if caught in shallow waters (<20 m) and properly handled and released.


Publication title

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Natl Research Council Canada

Place of publication

Research Journals, Montreal Rd, Ottawa, Canada, Ontario, K1A 0R6

Rights statement

Copyright 2015 the Author licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems

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