Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Capture and handling stress studies are considered a primary research priority, particularly for species and fisheries where discard rates are high, and/or for overfished stocks and species of concern. Lophius americanus, a commercially valuable finfish in New England, constitutes the second highest bycatch species within the sea scallop dredge fishery. Despite its commercial importance, no data exists on the capture and handling stress of monkfish for any gear type. Given these shortcomings, our goals were to evaluate the stress response of monkfish captured in scallop dredge gear by evaluating physical, behavioural and physiological responses to scallop fishing practices. While 80% of monkfish displayed little to no physical trauma, behavioural and physiological assessment indicated high levels of stress, especially as air exposure and tow duration increased. This finding suggests that the manifestation of stress in monkfish may be a cryptic response necessitating further research in addition to estimates of post-release mortality rates to appropriately advise fisheries management regarding the mortality of monkfish bycatch in the sea scallop fishery.
Discard Mortality; Leucoraja-Ocellata; Winter Skate; Bycatch; Survival; Management; Responses; Exposure; Teleost; Glucose
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Weissman, Amelia M.; Mandelman, John W.; Rudders, David; and Sulikowski,, James A., The effect of capture and handling stress in Lophius americanus in the scallop dredge fishery (2018). Conservation Physiology, 6, 58.