Virginia Institute of Marine Science
We evaluated the conservation benefits of the use of circle hooks compared with standard J hooks in the recreational fishery for Atlantic istiophorid billfishes, noting hooking location and the presence of trauma (bleeding) for 123 blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), 272 white marlin (Kajikia albida), and 132 sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) caught on natural baits rigged with one of the two hook types. In addition, we used pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) to follow the fate of 61 blue marlin caught on natural baits rigged with circle hooks or on a combination of artificial lure and natural bait rigged with J hooks. The frequencies of internal hooking locations and bleeding were significantly lower with circle hooks than with J hooks for each of the three species and were significantly reduced for blue marlin caught on J hooks than for white marlin and sailfish taken on the same hook type. Analysis of the data received from 59 PSATs (two tags released prematurely) indicated no mortalities among the 29 blue marlin caught on circle hooks and two mortalities among the 30 blue marlin caught on J hooks (6.7%). Collectively, the hook location and PSAT data revealed that blue marlin, like white marlin and sailfish, derive substantial conservation benefits from the use of circle hooks, and the negative impacts of J hooks are significantly reduced for blue marlin relative to the other two species.
White Marlin; Release Fisheries; Tag Technology; Caught
Graves, John E. and Horodysky, Andrij Z., Asymmetric Conservation Benefits Of Circle Hooks In Multispecies Billfish Recreational Fisheries: A Synthesis Of Hook Performance And Analysis Of Blue Marlin (Makaira Nigricans) Postrelease Survival (2010). Fishery Bulletin, 108(4), 433-441.