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Bob Pink 03-08-2000 09:56 PM

Catch & Release Mortality
The MFC hearings provided data that they are using as part of the analysis of the striped bass stocks. One key componet of this data is an assumed 8% mortality rate for bass caught & released. Since Mass has the bulk of the recreational catch and release, the figures they assume for a bycatch mortality are astounding.

Now, I know when you release a fish you can't be certain that it's in good shape. I am certain the clowns that flip them back into the water off a moving boat (recreational or charter) might be pushing that 8% figure but I just can't accept that 8 out of every 100 fish I land are dieing because of the stress of being caught.

Any marine biologists out there who have studied this? What's your opinion?

juro 03-09-2000 08:11 AM

RE:Catch & Release Mortality
Peter MacNeil is a fish doc but I know his PhD work is raising his sparetime mortality rate lately.

Not to come across as any kind of elitist but I gotta think that the increased rate of hook swallowing in bait vs. lure fishing is a major factor for the current mortality rate. Over the years, I grew up doing both and the difference is night and day. Even with lures, a single hook is all that's needed but people insist on two, even three barbed treble hooks on some lures. Other regions of the country require single barbless hooks for their gamefish to reduce mortality, no mystery there if you ask me.

The majority of my fishing is while standing thigh deep in the water and I agree with Bob, there's no way that nearly 10% of these fish die after my release on single barbless flies, often without even touching the fish by grabbing the fly and inverting it.

On the other hand I have seen people stepping on schoolies to wrestle the barbed trebles out of their mouths on barnacle covered rocks. Drives me crazy.

Bob -
You said MA is the bulk of C&R - is that due to the differences in regulations?

Lefty 03-09-2000 09:15 AM

RE:Catch & Release Mortality
There should be a catch and release education campaign. Ma. DFW is not progressive enough about such issues. There should be a drive to put such instructions in the "Abstrast" pamphlet. Granted, you don't need a licsence to fish for schoolies, many of these fishermen also fish freshwater. It's a starting point. It's just dumb that people are still tossing schoolies, or evan worse, stepping on them.
The internet could be a valuable tool here.
BTW, 8% is a lot lower than the trout mortality numbers I used to hear about in TU. I'm surprised it's not higher than 8%. While trout are undoubtedly more fragile, that 8% must be a conservative guess.


Bob Pink 03-09-2000 07:18 PM

RE:Catch & Release Mortality
Sorry Juro, Mass is the bulk of the recreational catch, therefore the bulf of the rec catch & release. No data available on the % of MA fisherfolk that are strictly C&R versus "Always harvest", "Occasionaly Harvest" and "Always Poach!"

Pete 03-13-2000 08:49 AM

RE:Catch & Release Mortality
Juro and the board,

I replied to this thread under a different heading, please check that out.

One thing that I will add (after you read the other post). Is that althought there are a number of people that fish with fly gear - the majority of anglers are still fishing with conventional gear. Taking that into account the figures would seem reasonable to me. As fly fishers we may not be causing as much hooking injury as bait or lures w/treble hooks , but I've seen a few people ff'ing play fish unneccesarily to land them - causing stress as well and perhaps contributing to mortality. Those small schoolies really don't need to be brought on the reel IMO, you can just strip them in.

Juro - I'm only going for the MS degree. I am a little older than the average student, so people sometimes make the connection that I'm going for a PhD. I actually hate school, but my transcripts (length of time) would seem to indicate otherwise.

Sorry for the absence from the board. I need (still do) to focus more on my project and less on the web (it is very distracting and can become addicting - local calls (for internet) $100 for the month. Trying to explain that to my new wife was a little dicey.


juro 03-13-2000 11:46 AM

RE:Catch & Release Mortality
Pete -

Have you tried netZero? They have local dialing support even where I live, and we just got hot and cold running water last month If so you get free access and local calling.

Anyway, thanks for visiting when you can. We need a fish doc around here. In fact, I need a witch doctor too... what happened to spring???

talk soon,

Pete 03-14-2000 08:11 AM

RE:Catch & Release Mortality

I believe that Massachusetts has more people fishing for the stripers and blues than other regions. We have a large population of people compressed into a relatively small land area (mostly focused in the eastern half). The fish are here off our large shoreline during the best months of the year (late April to mid October) so there are just more people fishing. As the fishing has improved there are more people pursuing this hobby, and people are coming here as an angling destination from outside the region. That all leads to more people fishing and catching fish, so the number of released fish (sub-legals) will be correspondingly large. It is just a function of effort IMO.

Just my take,

I have changed phone service, so I won't be getting killed on the phone bill, but thanks for the tip.


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