Centre for Statistical & Survey Methodology Working Paper Series

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This study assessed the mortality of 157 snapper Pagrus auratus (9–29 cm LT) after being conventionally angled and then released into cages (along with 48 controls) for 4 days off southeastern Australia. Fatalities were restricted to 12 angled fish (7.6%) and mostly attributed to the ingestion of hooks and especially their subsequent removal, which caused substantial blood loss and immediate death. Hook ingestion was significantly biased towards smaller fish (LT) and attributed to a lower chance of anglers initially detecting these individuals on the line (allowing them to consume more of the baits). While mortalities might be reduced in future via (1) choosing terminal rigs that promote mouth hooking and/or (2) cutting the line on any-hook ingested fish, the results nevertheless validate releasing unwanted angled inshore juvenile P. auratus as a means for managing their exploitation.