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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-23-2000 09:01 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

I'll post the draft... Thursday PM looks best. Please check for it and make comments.

05-11-2000 05:06 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

For public education purposes rather than debating the accuracy of the c&r mortality figures or trying to justify and minimize them we should put them out there and beat em like a drum. Half a million dead bass gets folks attention and we shouldn't shy away from using it for that purpose. I would agree there is some question about the figures but spend some time around the canal and you can see to many fish are being wasted. In the short term awareness is the key. It would be so nice to walk into a tackle shop and see a fish freindly section with some educational pamphlets single hooked plugs and circle hooks. Some hardheads will never change but many others will especialy newer fisherman if provided with an introduction to fish freindly tackle and release procedures. Steve I am not trying to pass value judgements on others I to keep fish and love casting eels along the elizabeths as well as throwing pencil poppers into the boulders. I also agree with Juro about the CCA but as I said above we need to embrace the problem to fix it and I do believe it's a problem. Great idea Aaron.
05-10-2000 08:05 PM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

First off great thread! Thanks Bruce for lighting the fire.

Maybe rename it "The trouble with trebles". I have a surf bag full of lures with those nasty buggers. They get less use every year. But last weekend in the excitement of fish busting all over the top I couldn't resist throwing a brand new Gibbs Polaris popper into the fray. With great success I might add. However to my dismay the new popper was still barbed. Fortunately only one hook on the back treble took hold and I was able to push it through and bend the barb back for a clean release. All other barbs were promptly crushed.

I continued to fish it for awhile until a schoolie inhaled the entire popper which resulted in me having to reach in with a hookout usually reserved for bluefish to remove the back treble without simultaneously impaling myself which happened anyway. I felt bad about the time it took me to get that fish back in the water.

I then used the lure to play a game. I would just pop it as a teaser and pull it away from the charging fish and Bob would cast out his crease fly into the pumped up fish. Very exciting, kinda like mini-marlin fishing. Then I put that rod away.

A couple of observations. People buy and use lures off the shelf with trebles because that's the way lure manufacturer's build them. Some high quality lures like Gibbs and Kastmasters can be modified to single hooks without serious detriment to the designed action and loss of hookup capability. Others like rebels and rapalas from my experience cannot. Most average Joe's that buy lures aren't considering the release before the catch. Some just don't care. [img]" border="0" align="middle">

Another observation from my experience is that schoolies thrash violently when landed while the bigger cows go limp when under control making release an easier proposition. Maybe they get smarter with age. <img src="[/img]
05-10-2000 02:31 PM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Guys this is a great thread - but if I may say one thing at this point in the discussion the point is not about imposing beliefs or passing judgement on anyone or any fishing method. It's really about increasing awareness of the situation we have, publishing and communicating the things people could do to reduce mortality regardless of the type of tackle chosen, and cultivating a more survival minded fishing community.

CCA is an honorable society of conservationists and anglers who spend a lot of time, effort and money to protect the interests of fishermen and fish. The average member in such an organization is a pretty advanced angler and is in the low-impact class. CCA has been very influential in promoting knowledge and solidarity for recreational interests (part of the solution, not the problem).

I personally feel we could take the lead of other regions worldwide and use gear restrictions as a way to minimize impact on gamefish. I do not feel this is an imposition but a necessity dictated by the impact on the fishery. We shouldn't let uproar stop what's right any more than people in those regions did when the rules were introduced. The wide-open unrestricted gear fishery does indeed damage fish, in fact that's why there are single-barbless &lt;1" gap no bait restrictions on certain west coast salmon / steelhead fisheries, just to name one example.

I think fly fishermen are lucky in that the mortality per discard is low by nature of the game. I'd be willing to bet those who only know how to chunk for schoolies don't enjoy the same degree of comfort with the impact on the fish they catch. The guys who killed that 29 1/2" striper (with the steel leader hanging out of it's gullet) we found during the clave couldn't have felt good when they drove home. I'll bet that if the community, and yes - even the regulations, pointed them in the right direction they could still have great success fishing and release such fish to spawn again.

I think awareness through things like pamphlets and clever distribution programs, articles published in magazines, and great moves like the CCA video are the first step.

Introducing ideas for regulations for the sake of the fish is the second step. Affecting such improvements by working with other organizations is the third step...

Reducing the mortality rate of stripers is the goal.
05-10-2000 02:11 PM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

spend a few hours at a place like redriverbeach in harwich during the spring and you will know that there is probably something to what bruce is saying. watch the way the average guy tosses his fish back into the water.we are indeed fortunate that the mortality rate isn't even higher.
bruce is a great captain and fisherman as well as being super intelligent, rest assured he has really done his homework on this one.
05-10-2000 11:47 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Sorry Steve to question your logic. With all due respect:
You're assuming it's all right to damage a fish you're going to kill anyway. Ok, but what about the 5 schoolies you tear up with your treble hooks before you land the keeper. How often do you go plugging and catch only keepers?
CCA'a mission is to protect the stocks I believe. Schoolies with faces full of treble hooks, or gut hooked with bait fall under that area don't they? It's simple to me. You don't need a PhD in marine biology to go out on the jetty and see who and what are killing schoolies.

&gt;<b>The fact is, not everyone (myself included) is purely a C&R angler.., </b>

You are C+R weather you like it or not if it's under 30" in this state.

&gt;<b>and placing value judgements on those who choose to keep a legal fish every now and then (or the mthods they choose to do it with) is divisive and does no one anyfishers.</b>

Who's doing that? No really, who is? This shows the typical fear of looking "elitist" people have. Well I guess I'm and elitist, Who cares? Chunking is allright if you can not kill 10 times(not sure how many but definately a lot) as many undersize fish as SWFF. I eat striper. I just don't catch many if any keepers. I'd like 1 this year maybe, maybe not. The point is to reduce mortality of undersize fish. Don't let the chunking group off the hook because you are afraid to sound elitist. Screw elitism, it's a straw argument. Do you want the stocks to stay strong or return to the old days again?

05-10-2000 11:38 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Steve - good to hear about the CandR video.

Regarding the treble hook picture - great if he kept the fish, but how many fish that were too small were also caught with those treble hooks?
05-10-2000 09:24 AM
steve moore
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

CCA-massachusetts, with funds from a grant from the MA-DMF made a catch and release video which shows proper techniques and speaks to many of the issues mentioned in this thread. The video is available by calling Dave Rimmer at CCA MA and can be used at club meetings, etc.

As for the cover shot of the CCA Tide Magazine: I don't disagree that treble hooks are unnecessary and can damage both fish and anglers, but If that fish was legal (I assume it was caught in Texas) and was going to be kept by the angler anyway, I really don't see anything wrong with the photo. The fact is, not everyone (myself included) is purely a C&R angler, and placing value judgements on those who choose to keep a legal fish every now and then (or the mthods they choose to do it with) is divisive and does no one any good. You and I may not fish with treble hooks, but the fact is many people do. Many also use bait and other angling methods. It is not CCA's mission to eliminate all keeping of fish, or to turn everyone into C&R fly fishers.
05-10-2000 09:20 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

I'm willing to help. How about starting here. Within our own SWFF community there are still a few guys using spinning gear. Some use barbless single hooks on sluggos, that's great. There are those who use the occasional plug with treble hooks too. Can we influence them or kindly ask them, if they are willing, to take off the treble and replace it with a 2/0 single, barbless evan? IT might be a good bell weather to see if we can effect change in our own backyard where conservation awareness runs highest.
Then there is the alienation issue. Web fishing boards want success and to exhibit tolerance. Fine. But are the web board owners willing to risk alienation of a few by asking their membership to practice these things?
Someone has to take a chance sooner or later.
And how about taking the posting on all 3 boards with a plee for all of us to change our habits? Anyone can do this, anytime.
The research can go on, but the funding to paper to legislation cycle is slow track. The AFMSC should not need this cycle completion to protect a fishery that may or may not be in decline. Treble hooks got to go.
05-10-2000 08:09 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Aaron -

That's a hot idea... let's work on this together (anyone else who wants to chip in - we could use you!)

We will launch a C&R / release awareness program (details discussed later). I've got all the software for promotional material development (brochures, etc)

I also have some contacts who would help distribute the materials throughout the area.

Aaron - I'll email you a rough program plan tonight.


05-10-2000 08:05 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Steve - great to hear from you, I agree that your observation looks more into the reality of the matter and not the hype. Your points are definitely reflected in the ASMFC stats on page 13 of the Public Information Document...

to be specific when looking at that chart, the real issue is percentage of mortality to discards - and one factor is the number of discards. In MA alone, the stats indicate 7 million recreational discards (releases) in 1998 with a death rate (mortality) of 574,749 fish.

As the numbers go up and down along the seaboard, the ratio of discard to mortality remains relatively streamlined, largely because the limit size allows fish to be kept at a higher ratios to those caught in other states and the discard mortality is absorbed into the non-discard mortality (those eaten). This supports your point - but... if we are the state, whether by population, seasonal availability, or whatever, that kills the most fish that should be released then IMHO we have the highest responsibility to practice optimum survival methods for the discards and to the point of other members - practice education, outreach, and whatever activities we can engage in to promote awareness and a sense of ownership for what we get to enjoy for free.

In the end, if we resign to the mortality rates because we are so many and so good it won't help reduce the number of fish being killed for no reason in the Bay State. In 1639, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed an act that ordered that striped bass would no longer be used as fertilizer for farm crops. I think if nothing else we can promote awareness of the ratio we hold in our hands everytime we release a fish here in MA.

Look forward to seeing you the water this year!

05-10-2000 07:29 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Hey Juro - any chance of the Forum picking up on this as a sponsor? - good cause and good PR.

For those of us on the list -- how about we come up with a list of Catch and Release Tips, put the tips into an easy to read format (like a bulleted list on one page), and then
lobby our local fishing shops to post the lists in their shops? As a starter on this, I'll be the first one to throw out a rough draft -- look back into this thread and find my suggested CandR tips. Anything to add/subtract?

05-10-2000 07:26 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

First - great conversation going here.

As part of a solution to the problem, I think MA should institute a recreational salt water fishing license. The license program should be modelled after the one in Chesapeake Bay (VA), which uses the majority of the money from the purchase of licenses to fund research. For example, a multiple year study on the CandR mortality, seasonal movement, and other aspects of the biology of tautog was just completed. This study was almost entirely funded by license money. With this approach, the budget for the state fisheries agency is not directly tied to the license revenues, more money goes into research (money is dispersed via a competitive grant proposal process) -- which allows the state fisheries agency to put more money into enforcement -- and the additional research aids in management decisions.
If for no other reason, money from the saltwater license could be used to create the educational programs that are needed.

Pete - again, I'm not knocking the cited study. However, I think a failing of fisheries management has been the general ignoring of the 'precautionary principle'. Since we know there is no way to control for all variables, we should add a safety margin to estimates such as the one derived from the study under discussion. Regardless of what the confidence intervals on the model might be, it is only a model -- with limitations, as every model has. I think that based on our failings at fisheries management (a universal 'our' and a universal 'fisheries management'), we really need to force a paradigm shift and institute a precaautionary approach.
Regarding the regression model - I agree that to a certain extent my comment was carping. As I'm sure you know, that's as much a part of science and the peer review process as the research itself. It is this professional discoures that allows science to improve over time. That said, I think a major problem arises when the 'public' interprets this academic debate as a serious problem. In general, it is not. I think most of us agree on the general findings and principles of much of the research in our respective fields, but have been trained over the years to think critically. This discourse and critical thinking should not be interpreted as genuine disagreement. Believe me folks, you will know when there is true disagreement.

Circle hooks - I'm not aware of any research on striped bass and circle hooks, but in the past few years there have been a number of research projects on the use of circle hooks in recreational fisheries. Results were good (i.e., less gut hookings, etc).

Education - again key. This is something that Sea Grant should be tackling. I know that in VA the Sea Grant program is very involved in this aspect of the recreational fishery. This would be in teh same vein as Pete's Idaho example. Maryland's fisherman's booklet is also reasonably well done. As I mentioned above, funds from salt water recreational licenses would be perfect for this type of thing.
I think CCA should be leading the way on this - they should be proactive. The picture of a fish with a mouth full of treble hooks is inexcusable.

For those of us on the list -- how about we come up with a list of Catch and Release Tips, put the tips into an easy to read format (like a bulleted list on one page), and then lobby our local fishing shops to post the lists in their shops? As a starter on this, I'll be the first one to throw out a rough draft -- look back into this thread and find my CandR tips. Anything to add?

05-09-2000 03:22 PM
steve moore
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Juro: I think you have to understand the impact of the recreational fishery in Massachusetts is (on a per person basis) lower than it is in most states where the bag limit is two fish per day. The reason the aggregate number is so high is simply due to the participation which is much higher than any other state. On a per capita basis we take only half of what many of the other states do with their two fish bag limit. The only way to reduce the skew of the recreational impact in Massachusetts would be to either keep the bass from entering our waters or limiting the number of anglers allowed to catch them.
05-09-2000 09:18 AM
RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important


I'd like to first respond to some of Aaron's last post -
<font size="1"><font color="0000ff">Third, as is so often the case in CandR studies, the MassFisheries study was conducted in an impoundment, so mortality most likely resulted from only physiological or direct physical causes. This is not a knock on the MassFisheries study -- it is almost impossible to conduct a study that accounts for natural predation. However, this is just another reason for using caution in selecting a CandR mortality rate for use in fisheries models.</font><!--1--></font><!--color-->

While I agree that the study didn't mimic the natural conditions (e.g., predation, etc.), it is one of the better study designs I have read about. As I'm sure you know already, it would be very hard to design a study that could incorporate all the different variables influencing mortality and still be able to say anything with the results. The fish were allowed to use the impoundment instead of being confined to a net-pen which, I would assume, would reduce an individual's stress - stress that could contribute to mortality and inflate the mortality estimates. Using control fish would enable you to determine the effect of confinement, but I do not believe many other studies do this (at least with striped bass). I also agree that we should be conservative in choosing a mortality figure, but the 50% figure that was initially mentioned is IMO derived from a poorly designed study. When people hear those figures they tend to run with it - without knowing how they were derived. This can be a problem, as people see biologists as not even being able to agree amongst themselves, so how can they know what to believe. A couple of other problems also occur. Commercial interests see these figures and use them to campaign for the opening or increase in quotas - claiming that the recreational anglers are having a much bigger negative impact than commercial interests. When these figures make it into popular literature (e.g., Fly Fisherman, National Fisherman, FFSW, SWFF, etc.) the public takes it as gospel - in large part because if it is in print it must be true and the fact that the authors take the info at face value and cannot recognize the studies limitations.

<font size="1"><font color="0000ff">Fourth, although it is a commonly used predictive method, one must be very careful in applying the results of any regression outside the exact conditions for which it was used. I think this is especially prudent when it comes to situations such as this.</font><!--1--></font><!--color-->

Well, I think this is another limitation of science - we sometimes tend to study things to death and fail to make decisions. I would feel pretty comfortable in using the information from the Diodati and Richards paper as an estimate of recreational mortality. However, it would not be the only piece of information that I would like to have, but we have to start somewhere. IMO the results of the study are generalizable enough to use in setting coastal mortality estimates. I would like to have a better estimate of recreational angling pressure - to further refine the numbers lost due to post-release mortality. The Diodati and Richards paper had an interesting result that many may overlook - and that is the reduction in condition factor (K = weight/length^3)of fish that have been caught and released and survived as compared to fish never captured. Maybe, all the C&R and increase in anglers are resulting in a downward trend in weight for a given length of fish that some people suspect is occurring.

Aaron - do you have any literature or citations from those conferences? - I would appreciate them, so please email me if you have them - Thanks!

I would also like to study the mortality associated with the use of circle hooks vs. standard hooks when bait is used. I believe that MADMF is already looking at this, but I could be mistaken. If circle hooks have a significantly lower mortality then regulations requiring their use with bait would probably go a long way in reducing mortality - there are many anglers that think cutting the hook is good for gut-hooked fish (and it is better than ripping it out), but the damage is done in many cases.

As an example - I removed the stomachs of a 3 fish that had been kept by 3 guys last year. two out of three had been perforated by bait hooks, even when the leader had been cut. The anglers had heard of circle hooks, but believed that they were ineffective in hooking bass so never used them. They claimed that they cut the leaders on all deeply hooked fish, and released them carefully ensuring that they would all live.

If we had better angler education, specifically a well done and informative web-site, and pamphlet handed out when getting a SW license we may educate the casual angler enough to have them change their fish handling and angling practices. I briefly lived in Idaho and their wildlife and fisheries booklets handed out with license purchases were exceptional - informing anglers about fishing or hunting regulations, fish and wildlife ID and handling techniques whether releasing fish, or dressing big game. The biologists out there could not believe the Massachusetts regulations booklet (the old fold out sheet - since replaced). Go check out the Idaho F&G page and then go to MassWildlife's page - see for yourself. They even provide research findings of IDF&G fisheries. We really could be doing a lot better job of informing the angling public - which would also go a long way towards educating the public and hopefully reduce the bad practices we all witness.

Sorry for the ramblings - 4 cups of coffee and my mind is flying.

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