Catch and Release in Marine Recreational Fisheries

A Bioenergetic Evaluation of the Chronic- Stress Hypothesis: Can Catch-and-Release Fishing Constrain Striped Bass Growth?

J. D. Stockwell, P. J. Diodati, and M. P. Armstrong


Although many studies have examined the effect of stress (i.e., catch-andrelease fishing or exhaustive swimming) on fish, most have addressed either physiological disturbances or posthooking mortality. To our knowledge, only three studies have tested for indirect or sub-lethal effects of catch-and-release fishing: Kieffer et al. (1995) demonstrated that smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu offspring suffered considerable predation when adult males were angled from their nest sites and subsequently released; Clapp and Clark (1989) found that hooked-and-released smallmouth bass grew less than unhooked fish; and Diodati and Richards (1996) found that hooked-and-released striped bass Morone saxatilis had decreased condition factor compared with unhooked fish. For catch-and-release management strategies to succeed, hooking mortality should be minimal, and sub-lethal effects should not become magnified at the population level. Sub-lethal effects can include slower growth rates, decreased fecundity, or any type of resultant behavior that decreases fitness.