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Mortality of key fish species released by recreational anglers in an Australian estuary

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 09:58 authored by Broadhurst, MK, Gray, CA, Reid, DD, Wooden, MEL, Young, DJ, James Haddy, Damiano, C
A field experiment was done to quantify the mortality of fish released during a recreational angling tournament in Botany Bay, Australia. Participating boat-based anglers were divided into two groups, each representing different typical catch-and-release events. The first group (termed the 'live weigh-in group') retained the largest two individuals of 4 species (dusky flathead, Platycephalus fuscus, yellowfin bream, Acanthopagrus australis, sand whiting, Sillago ciliata, and trevally, Pseudocaranx dentex) in onboard holding tanks and then presented these to researchers at designated weigh-in times and stations. Gear, operational and handling data were collected before 125 fish were tagged using plastic t-bar tags, returned to the anglers and then released into two sea cages. The second group (termed the 'immediate-release group') immediately released 224 fish into two sea cages, after they were tagged and relevant data recorded by onboard observers. This group represented those fish routinely discarded (i) as part of catch-and-immediate-release tournaments and/or (ii) due to minimum legal sizes and/or personal quotas. Appropriate species and numbers of 'control' fish were seined and placed into two sea cages. All fish were monitored for mortalities over 10 days. Dusky flathead, yellowfin bream, trevally and snapper, Pagrus auratus accounted for more than 85% of the total catch. Their adjusted mortalities ranged between 0% and 36.6%. Irrespective of the treatment, most yellowfin bream and snapper deaths occurred within 3 h of being hooked and released into the cages, while trevally and dusky flathead showed a delayed mortality over 4 days. Owing to confounding effects due to their confinement, dusky flathead were excluded from further analyses. Anatomical hook location and the time between capture and release were significant predictors of mortality for yellowfin bream and trevally, respectively (p < 0.01), but none of the various gear, operational or handling factors examined were significant for snapper (p > 0.05). The results are discussed in terms of species-specific variabilities in mortalities, their causal effects and better management of catch-and-release events. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Publication title

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

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Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences

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