Catch and Release in Marine Recreational Fisheries

Effects of Catch and Release on Physiological Responses and Acute Mortality of Striped Bass

J. A. Thompson, S. G. Hughes, E. B. May, and R. M. Harrell

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569308.ch18

The Atlantic striped bass Morone saxatilis fishery is important economically, both commercially and recreationally. More than 6.39 million kg were caught recreationally (including fish released alive) during 1999, from Maine to North Carolina. Commercially, more than 3,000,000 kg of striped bass worth nearly US$11 million dollars were caught (National Marine Fisheries Service, Fisheries Statistics and Economics Division, personal communication). To maintain the productivity of a popular commercial and recreational fishery, managers in many states utilize restrictive harvest regulations as a means to limit the pressure on limited fishery resources (Graff 1989). However, for this strategy to be effective, the targeted species must survive the trauma of catch and release. Fish caught by commercial or recreational methods often struggle to complete exhaustion. This can result in severe physiological disturbances, and a significant percentage may die (Black 1958).

The primary objective of this study was to determine the effect of angling time on striped bass by monitoring short-term survival and changes in blood gases and acid–base balance. A secondary objective was to determine if seasonal temperatures had any effect on the survival and physiological status of the fish.