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> > Catch & release isn't very stressful to the fish

TroutnutJuly 23rd, 2010, 4:10 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2558
While poking around the latest scientific articles to answer another question that came up, I found this one:

Author(s): Wedemeyer GA (Wedemeyer, Gary A.)1, Wydoski RS (Wydoski, Richard S.)2
Source: NORTH AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FISHERIES MANAGEMENT Volume: 28 Issue: 5 Pages: 1587-1596 Published: OCT 2008
Times Cited: 3 References: 33

Abstract: Catch-and-release fishing regulations are widely used by fishery resource managers to maintain both the quantity and quality of spoil fish populations. We evaluated blood chemistry disturbances in wild brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, brown trout Salmo trutta, cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarkii, and Arctic grayling Thymallus arcticus that had been hooked and played for 1-5 min in waters of the intermountain western United States. A hatchery stock of brown trout was included for comparison. To assess time needed for recovery, additional test groups were played for 5 min and then released into net-pens, where they were held for up to 72 It. The osmoregulatory and metabolic disturbances associated with catch-and-release fishing under the conditions we tested were minimal and judged to he well within normal physiological tolerance limits. In fish that were held for recovery, the blood chemistry alterations that did occur appeared to be related to stress from confinement in the net-pens. Our results confirm the results of previous studies, showing that prerelease air exposure and handling cause more physiological stress than does either hooking per se or playing time. Fishery managers must be aware of the differences in the perceptions, attitudes, and values Of different societal groups, some of which feel that catch-and-release fishing should be banned because it is cruel to the animals. On the basis of brain anatomy, it seems highly unlikely that fish experience pain in the same manner as humans experience it, because fish lack a neocortex, the brain structure that enables the sensation of pain in higher vertebrates. However, independent of the neurobiological argument. our results indicate that under conditions similar to those tested, fish subjected to catch and release are neither suffering nor particularly stressed. Improved education programs about the relatively benign physiological effects of catch-and-release fishing as a Fishery management practice would be beneficial to anglers and the nonfishing public alike.

Reprint Address: Wedemeyer, GA (reprint author), US Geol Survey, Western Fisheries Res Ctr, 6505 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA 98115 USA
Addresses:
1. US Geol Survey, Western Fisheries Res Ctr, Seattle, WA 98115 USA
2. Utah State Univ, US Geol Survey, Utah Cooperat Fish & Wildlife Res Unit, Logan, UT 84322 USA


Long story short: Get them back in the water pretty quickly and they'll be fine.

Caveat: I don't think this study was done at stressful temperatures, at which the results might be different. My journal access is acting up so I can't get the full article right now to check.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Jmd123July 23rd, 2010, 5:27 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2437
These days, actually for the past four years, I have been using a Measure-Net, which is made of nice soft mesh and includes an inch scale down the center. Fish can be measured, unhooked, and promptly released, all without having to hardly remove them from the water at all or put my hands (always thoroughly wet) on them.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3July 24th, 2010, 5:14 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I don't think this study was done at stressful temperatures, at which the results might be different.


As relevant as that is, it's a pretty glaring omission in the abstract. If you find out any more about high-temp stress, please share it with us. I'm doing most of my fishing in summer, and I'm concerned about it. I know that most people use the 70-degree line as a rule-of-thumb, but I would like to know how well supported that cutoff is by actual research.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
OldredbarnJuly 26th, 2010, 6:59 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Thanks Jason...Interesting stuff.

I think that seasoned anglers that practise catch-and-release are aware that getting the fish back in the water ASAP is a good idea.

Unfortunately I have seen guys handle fish for way too long in other situations. There is an early season stocked fish program near here where brood stock are placed in a small lake and from April 1-last Saturday in April you are supposed to practise catch and release and then you can keep the fish...In terms of cruelty I haven't seen anything quite like it elsewhere. The fish look so bad killing them would be the least you could do...Stumpy fins, lethargy, gill covers missing...Ouch! It's pretty bad...

I have watched as guys show off a fish they just caught to friends and I'm in my float tube going "one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two...That fish is dead..." I've seen them try to put them back in only to have them tip over...Food for the critters along shore I guess.

It doesn't IMHO promote good angling habits and is down right hard to watch. Education...When I'm feeling optimistic may work...Today I'm not in an optimistic state-of-mind so I'll stop here.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123July 26th, 2010, 12:38 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2437
I've seen some pretty poor fish handling myself recently, Spence. I watched some young punks let a nice bass fall on the ground, then flop it's way several yards back to the water on it's own, in my favorite local lake a few months ago. I thought about giving them a piece of my mind, but it was far too nice a day for a fistfight and I was catching bluegill & crappie hand-over-fist on my 3-weight...didn't want to spoil my own fun!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MotroutJuly 26th, 2010, 1:52 pm
Posts: 319
My favorite is when people grab fish from the water by the gill covers, hoist them out of the water, let the fish thrash around in the bottom of the boat for a few minutes, take a picture, and then let it go. And then they go on for a few minutes about the value of catch and release, when the fish they caught is almost sure to die a slow, painful, and unseen death.

If you watch fishing shows on the Outdoor Channel, you will see this all the time. And that is the example set for new fisherman who don't know how to handle fish.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Jmd123July 26th, 2010, 10:03 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2437
Makes you wanna go thump 'em in the head, doesn't it, MO?

Once, in Missouri in fact (this is no comment on the general fishing population there, BTW, I met many good guys while living there), I saw some dumbass college kid slamming bluegill against the dock instead of just tossing them back in the water! WHAT THE F*CK IS HE DOING??? I said to my (now ex-) wife...I asked the little dumbf*ck just why the hell he was doing that (trying not to go out and physically throw him off the dock while cursing at the top of my lungs and issuing bodily threats to said youngster), and his idiotic response was, "Uh , I dunno, my grampa always did that." "Well, you're KILLING THEM!!" "Uh, gee, I don't see any floating up!" "They SINK FIRST, dummy! STOP DOING THAT!! I FISH HERE TOO!!!" "Uh, OK!"

He's just lucky he didn't get assualted that day, let me tell you...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
NeophyteJuly 27th, 2010, 4:22 am
Royal Palm Beach, FL

Posts: 4
Jason,
If you haven't read "Do Fish Feel Pain", by Victoria Braithwaite, you might find it an interesting read.
Ray
RayM
MotroutJuly 27th, 2010, 7:55 pm
Posts: 319
I've seen things very similar to that. Sometimes folks will actually see how far they can throw a fish they want to release. Many years ago, I once went fishing with a (former)friend. I caught a bass. This was before I became a catch and release fisherman, so I was dissapointed to find that it was an inch short of the length limit. My friend was really mad about that, and he wanted me to see how far across the lake I could throw it. He seemed pretty dismayed when I gently released the fish without so much as an underhand toss. Ever since then, I have made a concerted effort to never remove the fish from the water before release. The more time the fish spends out of the water, the more likely it is to die. And that's even more true in the warm water conditions that are prevalent right now.

As you may have guessed, the two of us haven't fished together since.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Jmd123July 27th, 2010, 9:01 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2437
I make it a habit, MO, to exclude dummies and idiots from my circle of friends...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OvermywaderMarch 13th, 2014, 1:42 pm
Posts: 31Jason,
Are you familiar with these studies on catch and release stress.

http://overmywaders.com/extracts/nelson/FME_Meka&Margraf2007.pdf

http://overmywaders.com/extracts/nelson/FME_Pollock&Pine2007.pdf

http://overmywaders.com/extracts/nelson/FME_PopeEtAl2007.pdf

http://overmywaders.com/extracts/nelson/FME_Cooke&Schramm2007-C&R_Science.pdf


Regards,
Reed

Overmywaders
Jmd123March 13th, 2014, 4:48 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2437
Mack, they make tools specifically for just what you do, there's one called the Ketchum Release that just fits over the hook and allows you to pop it out without hardly contacting the fish at all.

http://waterworks-lamson.com/products/accesories/

(Yes, I know "accessories" is misspelled...that's how it is on the website)

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
EntomanMarch 13th, 2014, 9:32 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Behnke talked at length about stress in several papers and articles. Water/ air temps are the single biggest factor in stress related mortality. During high temps that are marginal, it's best not to go fishing. Frankly, even "early release" fish that are never touched and only on for a short time can be in trouble.

This is anecdotal, but a kept trout in a pond I used to have that were handled pretty roughly by kids hundreds of times during the Winter to no ill effect. They grew and thrived just fine.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRobertsMarch 13th, 2014, 10:01 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Chronic stress such as in spawning can be an issue too.

And some species are more fragile than others. I found Coho's to be unable to be out of the water long at all, compared to other salmonids, although I wonder if that's generally true or just when I've caught them. But I think I remember this being true of Coho parr as well during a sampling excursion. And I think landlocked Atlantic's too.

Largemouth bass, on the other hand, in one study, were found to have high long term survival rates following up to 10min held out of the water!

As to handling healthy fish, wet hands are usually enough. It's squeezing, dropping, repeated capture (bass on spawning beds), and fish played too long and/or held out to be ogled too long, that can kill fish.

I wonder what it is about Alaskan rainbows in the literature? Is it the fish, the fishing methods, the season, the environment, or the penchant of the researchers?
Jmd123March 13th, 2014, 10:27 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2437
Dystopian, Paul...Homo sapiens is very poor at engineering the natural world. Mother nature really knows best and we don't. At least in my experience.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
EntomanMarch 14th, 2014, 1:49 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Thanks for the post, Jason.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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