RE:Catch & Release Mortality
Going beyond the northeastern striper scene, the native steelhead fishery is another example of required release and concerns about mortality. The use of nylon mesh nets for landing these giant trout strips the fish's critical slime layer from the scales, and here multiple barbed trebles make a big difference - partly because of the time and effort required to free the fish, and partly because plugs are fished from boats and the fish are almost always brought into the boat to be dealt with flopping on the floor of the boat, in the mesh, etc. The fish's fate would be much different if a barbless single fly hook were gently lifted from the lip by a kneeling angler, and the fish never handled.
The ocean salmon fisheries off the Olympic Peninsula and British Columbia require barbless hooks in may regions. In my personal opinion is that releasing a fish without taking it from the water is the best means.
In rivers, there are words of experience in Bob Boudreau's article about catch and release. I especially am pleased to read about the high survivability rates achievable thru proper fish handling in his article.
My personal belief is that the use of barbless, baitless hooks and the release of the fish as close to (if not in) the water as possible is a recipe for high survivability of the gamefish I catch. If there are 50 idiots for every conscientious angler, perhaps we need to somehow educate and increase the ratio?