Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important - Fly Fishing Forum
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  #1  
Old 05-05-2000, 08:49 AM
bruce bruce is offline
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Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

I am surprised that no comments have been given here regarding my previous post about the adressing of hook mortality. It is either because no readers believe the numbers or that it is percieved as a non issue. Either reason means that the kill of unused fish will continue at the current rate. The amount of rec bykill is equal to the total commercial TAC ! The commercial bykill is unknown because of the lack of an observer program.
I was hoping to seek support to start some letter writing to the fishery managers to ask for both a start to reducing the hooking mortalities and to try and get better commercial bycatch numbers.
If any of you care enough to address this, please write:

Robert Beal FMP Coordinator
ASMFC
1444 Eye street NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

email; Rbeal@asmfc.org

Comment must be in before May 31, 2000
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2000, 11:06 AM
i'm so outta here
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Bruce,

Forgive our seeming apathy, but I think in this case, part of the blame lies in the way you presented this issue to us. In looking over your posts on this board I had to rummage through no less than 6 threads to get a sense of what you're after, and I'm still not sure what it is you're asking us to do. Try presenting the issue in a manner we can easily understand and close with a call to action.

My immediate reaction to your claims was, "this is bogus data." I was under the impression that mortality rates for released fish was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8%. If it's really more like 50%, then there is a compelling reason to persuade us to do something about it.

I'm VERY wary of stats thrown around with no documented proof of origin. Any bozo can come up with a study that finds this or that. The proof is in the procedure. A lot of bad science goes on for the sake of politics, and everybody has an angle to play.

In short, I'm hesitant to blindly follow whomsoever raises the flag of protest. I think you'll find many of us on this board are of like mind. We care about conservation and will do anything to preserve the sport we love. But we are independent minded and like to make intelligent, informed decisions.

So before you go accusing us of inattention to your cause, perhaps you should take a closer look at your role in the communication exchange.

"A fool seeks to persuade me with his reasons, a wise man with mine own."
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Old 05-05-2000, 12:04 PM
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Bruce, I've got to agree with Al. not flaming at you, just remember the post as being confusing, so i didn't respond. is there any sloution for the motality? type of hooks? bait vs fly vs lures? weight rods? we all care about the fishery, so we would be willing to change to benefit the fish. I doubt there are many on this board that bemoan the fact that keepers are now 30 inches, or would complain much about 23 or 34. Tom
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Old 05-05-2000, 12:05 PM
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

lol that should read 32 or 34
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Old 05-05-2000, 06:40 PM
jeffg jeffg is offline
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Bruce,
I think most people would agree hook mortality is an issue, so don't dispair. This is just a tough time of the year to get people to take the time to deal with such issues when they are eager to take their first bass of the year.

I wish I was fishing right now (and i was supposed to be) but I am stuck at work. I will say I have a hard time accepting the numbers presented to me for hook mortality. i will not go so far as to say they are wrong--part of it may be denial, part of it may be my methods. I do all types of fishing: mostly fly (sometimes barbless, depends), but I also spin fish a little, troll, liveline, and yes, will chunck now and then. I am confident that I can count on my fingers the number of fish I killed last year inadvertantly out of the many hundreds landed (I fished a lot last year).

Even without circle hooks, by tending to my rod I probably only gut hooked one or two fish.

This issue is one of the hardest to address because it is based upon education and methodology, not allocation or minimum length. It is difficult to require someone to properly release a fish. it is also going to be difficult to mandate the use of circle hooks or ban treble hooks. i am not sure what the solution is other than attempting to instill a conservation-minded ethic into anglers.

I am curious what you might propose to address the issue?

Finally, I am wary of statistics myself, but I have been trying to figure this out for years--do you know what the natural mortality rate is for school-sized bass? The reason I ask is that I am curious what the overall pecentage of the bass population lost to hook mortality is compared with the natural mortality rate. I have been interested ever since reading on the natural mortality rates of school bluefin tuna, which are apparently quite high, and are used as a justification for allowing the harvest of unmature bft (rationale being many of the fish won't reach maturity anyway so it is ok to harvest a certain percentage within that percentage). I would be intersted in knowing how much catch and release mortality exceeds the natural mortality.

Tight lines,

Jeff
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Old 05-05-2000, 08:02 PM
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Speaking as a member (only), I am urged to defend Bruce's views on the topic. I don't see or feel any criticisms from his call to action and am kind of surprised that we haven't dug into this a little more. Getting excited about angling is the key to stewardship, no doubt. But I believe we need to find ways to effect results on the causes that preserve our angling resource.

I'm curious how many to this point (not only on this board but across all communities from North Carolina to Nova Scotia) have printed this document and discussed it half as much as a clouser or a deceiver?

I've printed the document out and have been carrying it around while on business trips out of the country feeling guilty that I have not spent as much time as I should have in understanding the views of the commision such that I might make some good judgements and contribute to this discussion more than my introduction of the topic of hook styles a few days back.

Perhaps if all anglers in MA read it we would all know that Massachusetts is credited with the highest Recreational Mortality of the ENTIRE SEABOARD. I have a hard time doubting this from what I witness each year (although it makes me wonder what other states are doing right). In MA I have to ask - why are people cutting tinker mackerel into bitty chunk baits for schoolies on standard hooks all over Plum Island? Why are there three sets of barbed trebles on many plugs? With the average skill level per angler abyssmally low (with all due respect to the low percentage of really skilled guys out there), how many of these schoolies survive removal from one of these plugs from the rocks of any jetty?

The issue is not about gut hooking what you eat, it's about controlling the impact we humans have on sublegal striped bass that make MA their summer home. I am EMBARRASED that MA is the highest rec / mortality rate on the seaboard.

BTW - in other fisheries across the country, even in remote fisheries of the world, the regulation of mesh sizes and hook sizes, numbers of points, use of barbs, and other restrictions have made a profound difference in the survival of juvenile fish. I find it hard to believe that the sport C&R mortality would not be reduced to a tiny fraction of it's current numbers with such regulation.

I don't think Bruce wanted anyone to accept his phrasing or tactics in this issue - but I know he genuinely sought a more spirited response from those who get so much from the fishery. How many of us have printed and read the document?

On the other side of the coin, what does anyone else suggest? I'll be dedicating some time to completing this review and will be taking whatever actions I can to try to make a difference.

I'll fish the salt for the first time for the year this weekend, and I will indulge fully in it - and the following week I will spend time thinking about the views of the comission and what anglers might do to affect positive changes in the observed status of the fishery. I think that's what Bruce is trying to achieve.
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Old 05-06-2000, 11:13 AM
Aaron
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Here are some helpful hints to decrease post-release fish mortality - gleaned from peer-reviewed research manuscripts.

Use barbless hooks since they reduce the time needed to remove a hook before releasing the fish.
Use stainless steel hooks because stainless steel hooks left in fish will not rust and will likely be thrown, while hooks that rust may cause a toxic shock response in some saltwater fishes.
Use flies or artificial lures since natural baits are more likely to be swallowed.
Reduce fight time because energetic fish recover faster.
Keep the fish in the water. If you want a picture of your catch before releasing it, get the camera ready prior to removing the fish from the water to minimize the time the fish spends out of the water.
Use a dehooking device to reduce handling.
Be gentle if you handle the fish. Wet your hands first to minimize the amount of protective coating of slime handling removes from the fish.
Help a tired fish when releasing it. Hold the fish in the water in an upright (swimming) position. Hold the fish loosely by the base of the tail and under the stomach until it is strong enough to swim away
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Old 05-06-2000, 11:29 AM
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Text below from 'Al_d' Bruce,

>My immediate reaction to your claims was, "this is bogus data." I was under the impression that mortality rates for released fish was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8%. If it's really more like 50%, then there is a compelling reason to persuade us to do something about it.
>
Actually, a Mass Marine Fisheries study showed that post-release mortality of striped bass (in the absence of predators!) ranged from around 5% to as high as 30 percent. For unknown reasons (my guess political) the FMP uses 8% for CandR mortality. If for no other reason than to error on the side of caution (and the history of striped bass on the Atlantic Coast BEGS for a cautionary approach), we should be using the 30% figure.

>I'm VERY wary of stats thrown around with no documented proof of origin. Any bozo can come up with a study that finds this or that. The proof is in the procedure. A lot of bad science goes on for the sake of politics, and everybody has an angle to play.
>
And any half-bozo can question the validity of data. In my experience, the bilogists who are conducting the research are very qualified, and produce valid data. How the data are applied, or even if those data are incorporated into the FMP is beyond the control of the biologists. They conduct the studies and make recommendations via their reports. I think you may be confusing the biological and political parts of the process.

>In short, I'm hesitant to blindly follow whomsoever raises the flag of protest. I think you'll find many of us on this board are of like mind. We care about conservation and will
do anything to preserve the sport we love. But we are inpendent minded and like to make intelligent, informed decisions.
>
Blindly following only at your own convenience. It would not take a lot of time for anyone interested in this to find out more. Go to the library and conduct a literature search on catch and release mortality, on striped bass life history, and on fisheries management. You will find plenty of information with which to make an informed decision. Get and read the most recent FMP, and even past FMPs to get an idea of the history of the problem.
The talk one generally hears in the fishing shops and on the beaches is often opinion and little of it informed. Conservation is easy until it hits home.

The pendulum swings both ways - it wasn't long ago that the commercial fishery was the easy scapegoat. It's not a long shot to see the finger point at the recreational fishery soon.
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Old 05-06-2000, 09:32 PM
bruce bruce is offline
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Its taken me a couple days to post a reply as I was feeling quite defensive. There is no hidden agenda other than to present ideas to discuss. I feel the managers of this fishery are managing for maximum generated profits and not for the sake of the fish.
We are "commercial" all. Every time you purchase something that exploits the striper fishery, you contribute. I know of fly line companies that are changing the name of their lines to sell more of them. Fishing mags sell info, I sell charters. We are loving the bass to death.
My original post was title the ASMFC, in which I describe amendment 6 and its 7 "issues" and invited some to check it out. I have also done this on other sites and got exactly the same reaction. I was even accused of being a "Commercial Fishing Interest" intentionally skewing information on hook mortalities to distact from commercial bycatch numbers.
All I'm trying to do is promote discussion, something I think will help to change veiwpoints.
Thanks,

Bruce
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Old 05-07-2000, 07:12 PM
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Bruce -

You'll be glad to know that some of us appreciate your efforts to open these important issues for scrutiny and discussion. In fact it's made me more aware of the overall situation and you can bet I plan to go through the document and it's underlying issues in detail over the next few nights. Your requests for discussion on this topic are just the type of thing the web is good for. People may not all agree on things, but if they did there would be no passion nor point in discussion anyway. There is fire in all of us, and I hope it leads us to act on the things we believe rather than vent on each other.

Please do not feel defensive, and by all means continue to solicit our views on these important matters. It's a common thing that people's voicings are not as they appear when you read their writing.

Those who know you would never make such assumtions as you mentioned above. In fact I am real glad there are guys who care enough to take these things by the horns.

Thanks Bruce! Full speed ahead.

Juro
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Old 05-07-2000, 08:48 PM
i'm so outta here
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

I'll argue with the Devil himself. Anyone who knows me, knows I push for truth. Yes, any "half-bozo" can question data..... but why is it so few do?

None of this is meant as a personal attack. I respect what Bruce is doing. Just give me the benefit of the doubt that I have a brain and can use it and don't be so quick to shake your virtual finger at me because I haven't leapt on the band wagon du jour. Communications is a two way street. If it fails, all parties share in the blame.

I'm not disagreeing with anything that Bruce or Juro or anyone else has to say about the impact we have on coastal fisheries. We impact it heavily. I don't need statistical proof of this. All I'm saying is my BS meter went off the dial in reading the figures Bruce had quoted. I remain suspicious. Thank you, Aaron, for corroborating this.

You're preaching to the quire if you're trying to convince fly fisherman of the need for responsible handling of fish. What I'm trying to push Bruce (or anyone else who is interested) to do is present this issue clearly and to provide sources. Any effective grass roots campaign (in itself a politcal phenomenon) starts with a clear statement of what needs to be done and the details of how it can be accomplished. The constituents will not be taken seriously unless they have the facts straight. Quote your sources and remove all doubt. If the orginal post had these things, then all you need to do is repost. I, for one, never saw it. (I tend to skim Web sites and only stop and read when I've found what I was looking for. I was NOT looking for a fight, but one found me.

Perhaps posting to this board was not the most effective communcation choice. In the future, you might try email. It's more personal and "high profile" (people tend to check email more often than forum boards and the number of posts makes for a long culling process).

Juro can swing the distribution lists through his ISP. Talk to him. I'd be willing to help draft the message.

tight lines (but not too tight

al
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Old 05-08-2000, 11:59 AM
Pete Pete is offline
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

Guys,

Been a while since I've been around, however, I seem to remember posting about this issue a couple of months ago - specifically the paper by Diodati and Richards, which is what I believe was used to set the recreational figure at 8%. I would imagine that the statistical analysis performed was some sort of logistic regression and that is why you may have skewed confidence intervals (3-26%), while the mean may be closer to the lower boundary. The 50% figure was from a study in Maryland if I remember correctly - and that was strongly influenced by water temperature. Additionally, they moved the fish from a saline environment to a more freshwater system to hold them for mortality - stripers don't do as well mortality wise in the freshwater as compared to saltwater - which may have artificially inflated those figures. Massachusetts has the highest recreational mortality because more people fish for them here - and as a result more are landed - I think it is proportional to the pressure. Here are some papers that people may want to dig up at the local university or try a few search engines like Web of Science on the web - <a href="http://webofscience.com/CIW.cgi" target="_blank"><!--auto-->http://webofscience.com/CIW.cgi</a><!--auto-->
Here is the paper I was referring to (got this off Web of Science - search topic-striped and bass and mortality):

Mortality of striped bass hooked and released in salt water
Diodati PJ, Richards RA
TRANSACTIONS OF THE AMERICAN FISHERIES SOCIETY
125: (2) 300-307 MAR 1996

Document type: Article Language: English Cited References: 22 Times Cited: 1

Abstract:
Despite the importance of the recreational fishery for striped bass Morone saxatilis along the eastern coast of the United States, little is known about the survival rates of caught and released striped bass. We predicted long-term (58-d) hooking mortality of striped bass after catch and release in saltwater using a logistic regression model. Experimental fishing was conducted on fish (27-57 cm) in a 2-ha saltwater impoundment in Salem, Massachusetts. Depth of hook pen etration in the oral cavity, anatomical site of hooking, gear type (treble or single hooks), and angler experience were significantly related to mortality (P &lt; 0.05). The logistic regression model was developed with backwards stepwise selection to predict probability of death from hooking. The final model included depth of hook penetration, gear type, and angler experience as predictor variables. Predicted mortality ranged from 3% under the most favorable conditions to 26% for the worst set of conditions. Predicted as well as observed mortality for the entire experimental group was 9% which is generally much lower than reported in striped bass hooking mortality studies conducted in freshwater. At the end of the experiment, condition factors were significantly lower for surviving hooked fish than for fish that had not been hooked.
Addresses:
Diodati PJ, MASSACHUSETTS DIV MARINE FISHERIES, CAT COVE MARINE LAB, SALEM, MA 01970.
NATL MARINE FISHERIES SERV, NE FISHERIES SCI CTR, WOODS HOLE, MA 02543.


Publisher:
AMER FISHERIES SOC, BETHESDA

IDS Number:
UA766

ISSN:
0002-8487

Here are a few more citations that people find interesting:
Bettoli, P. W. and R. S. Osborne. 1998. Hooking mortality and behavior of striped bass following catch and release angling. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 18: 609-615.

Dorazio, R. M. 1995. Mortality estimates of striped bass caught in Albemarle Sound and Roanoke River, North Carolina. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15: 290-299.

Henderson-Arzapalo, A., P. Rago, J. Skjeveland, M. Mangold, P. Washington, J. Howe and T. King. 1999. An evaluation of six internal anchor tags for tagging juvenile striped bass. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 19: 482-493.

Nelson, K. L. 1998. Catch-and-release mortality of striped bass in the Roanoke River, North Carolina. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 18: 25-30.

Tomasso, A. O. and J. J. Isely. 1996. Physiological responses and mortality of striped bass angled in freshwater. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 125: 321-325.

The tagging one is a little off the topic, however the mortality rates are eye-opening and leads me to really discourage recreational angler tagging operations, such as those run by the American Littoral Society (ALS). On the topic of angler tagging info - American Fisheries Society publishes Fisheries a magazine with some good scientific content and they had several articles on this topic in the last issue, specifically looking at the attitude of states in allowing or discouraging the practice.

If you guys want to really know what is going on - then I cannot stress how much a SW license would benefit the agencies that deal with these issues. We have IMO weak data on angler participation and pressure on the resource - a license would bring in the needed revenue stream to carry out some projects - until then it is pretty much a caretaker role.

Pete
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Old 05-08-2000, 12:32 PM
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

<font size="1"><font color="0000ff">Depth of hook penetration in the oral cavity, anatomical site of hooking, gear type (treble or single hooks), and angler experience were significantly related to mortality (P &lt; 0.05). The logistic regression model was developed with backwards stepwise selection to predict probability of death from hooking. The final model included depth of hook penetration, gear type, and angler experience as predictor variables. Predicted mortality ranged from 3% under the most favorable conditions to 26% for the worst set of conditions.</font><!--1--></font><!--color-->

Pete - it's ALWAYS great to hear from you!

I think (without having gone through the material thoroughly yet) that it's somewhat obvious that the methods of angling, gear, and thus regulations are directly related to recreational mortality. Therefore it indeed makes perfect sense that regulations could impact the rate of mortality profoundly. This, in my mind, is a clearly defined opportunity to make a difference on the adverse effect we anglers have on striped bass in Massachusetts.

Does anyone agree?
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Old 05-08-2000, 01:47 PM
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

I'm coming down on the "preaching to the choir" side on this. Most of us here support the CCA, fish barbless flies, and kill extremely few fish. We must have caught and carefully released over 200 fish at our clave last weekend.
Yes, we can always improve and strive for zero mortality. But would it not be 100 times more prudent to take this discussion to the CHUNKER COMMUNITY And to the TACKLE DEALERS that stand to loose millions if the stocks crash?

On my way to the boat ramp to pull my boat out of Bass River sunday, I witnessed a guy land a 20" striper and kill it by not knowing what to do, it was gut hooked bad on bait. It sucked. How do we educate our brother bait fishermen? Is that Bruce's intention? I would not waste one ounce of time on the SWFF community other than ask for monetary support or help in getting legislation passed
.
On Plugs: I remember fishing at Grand Lake Stream in Maine in the year 1974. All lures could only have one hook. I remember with my dad snipping the other 2 off of treble hooks. Now if the enviromentaly conservative state of Maine (1974 ) could do that why can't we accomplish that in liberal Mass. in the year 2000? This is the real battle.

TerryW
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Old 05-08-2000, 05:10 PM
Aaron
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RE:Addressing Hook Mortality IS Important

First, I agree that it is important to know the source of cited data. However, in a topic as broad as post-release mortality the available data are overwhelming in amount (although representing a wide variety of findings). Just as a 'for example' - there have been two mulitiple-day, national conferences on recreational catch and release mortality of marine fishes (both sponsored by Virginia Institute of Marine Science). The amount of information available at those conferences was amazing, not to mention all of the published literature.

Second, some of the findings of the MassFisheries study (e.g., type and placement of hook) only added to data already available for so many other species.

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.

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.

Fifth, realize that, regardless of type of gear, there are millions(!) of recreational anglers along the east coast, so although an individual's impact might be 'low' the impact must be considered on the whole of the fishery.

Finally, the status quo is that the burden of proof falls on the biologist to prove that an activity has an impact, and then from his/her data recommend action. I think given the results under the status quo, it is now prudent to shift the burden of proof to the user-groups to prove there is no impact. It is easy to argue with the devil when it is the devil that has to design and conduct the studies, provide the data, conduct the appropriate statistical tests, and make recommendations. One side is always on the defensive, the other has the constant advantage of critic. My guess is that if places were switched the tone of the argument would change considerably.

Aaron
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