Catch-and-release angling mortality of south-eastern Australian Pomatomus saltarix
Pomatomus saltatrix (Pomatomidae) is important to several recreational fisheries around the world, most of which regulate exploitation via legal size limits and quotas. However, the inherent assumption of minimal impacts to released P. saltatrix has only been tested across limited and mostly planned angling scenarios, with variable results. This study contributes to the available information by assessing the fate of conventionally angled-and-released P. saltatrix off New South Wales, Australia. Eighty-five fish (24-54 cm total length, TL) were caught from surf beaches, rocks and boats and released into cages (with 60 controls), where they were monitored for 10 days. The mortality among angled fish was 8%, all of which occurred within 24 hours. The few deaths were attributed to gill hooking and/or excessive hook damage, and most might be mitigated by cutting the line rather than removing hooks. The results support releasing the angled sizes of eastern Australian P. saltatrix and, along with a review of earlier data, facilitate the prediction of impacts to individuals caught and released among unstudied populations.
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