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Sublethal effects of catch-and-release fishing: measuring capture stress, fish impairment, and predation risk using a condition index

November 15, 2009

The sublethal effects of simulated capture of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) were analysed using physiological responses, condition indexing, and performance variables. Simulated catch-and-release fishing included combinations of depth of capture and thermocline exposure reflective of environmental conditions experienced in the Gulf of Mexico. Frequency of occurrence of barotrauma and lack of reflex response exhibited considerable individual variation. When combined into a single condition or impairment index, individual variation was reduced, and impairment showed significant increases as depth increased and with the addition of thermocline exposure. Performance variables, such as burst swimming speed (BSS) and simulated predator approach distance (AD), were also significantly different by depth. BSSs and predator ADs decreased with increasing depth, were lowest immediately after release, and were affected for up to 15 min, with longer recovery times required as depth increased. The impairment score developed was positively correlated with cortisol concentration and negatively correlated with both BSS and simulated predator AD. The impairment index proved to be an efficient method to estimate the overall impairment of red snapper in the laboratory simulations of capture and shows promise for use in field conditions, to estimate release mortality and vulnerability to predation.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Sublethal effects of catch-and-release fishing: measuring capture stress, fish impairment, and predation risk using a condition index
DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsp255
Authors Matthew D. Campbell, Reynaldo Patiño, J.M. Tolan, R. E. Strauss, S. Diamond
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title ICES Journal of Marine Science
Series Number
Index ID 70150436
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta

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