A project was initiated in the autumn of 2000 to document the mortality of striped marlin caught on recreational fishing tackle, with a follow-up study conducted in autumn of 2001. Fish were caught using typical recreation fishing methods and 80 pop-up satellite archive tags were deployed with new software and mechanical release mechanism that allowed tags to detach and transmit early if the fish died. The fist year study was also designed to compare the effectiveness and associated mortality of circle hooks versus J-hooks, while the second year study compared offset and no-offset circle hooks. All fish were caught on live bait. Circle hooks were found to be equally effective in hooking and landing striped marlin and far less likely to cause serious bleeding or become lodged in areas other than the mouth. Non-offset and 5° offset circle hooks had very similar performance. Depth and temperature records allowed us to determine the fate of individual marlin following release. In total, 16 of 61 fish died (mortality rate of 26.2%), all within 5 days of release (mean1.5 days). Injury was a clear predictor of mortality;/ 100% of fish that were bleeding from the gill cavity died, 63% of fish hooked deep died, and 9% of those released in good condition died.
For more information: Domeier, M.L., H. Dewar, and N. Nasby-Lucas. 2003. Mortality rate of striped marlin (Tetrapturus audax) caught with recreational tackle. Marine and Freshwater Research 54:435-445.