Consequences of Catch-and-Release Angling on the Physiological Status, Injury, and Short-Term Mortality of Peacock Bass (Cichla ocellaris) in Puerto Rico: A Rapid Assessment Approach

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 8:40 AM
301A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Andy J. Danylchuk, PhD , Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Shannon Bower , Carleton University
Jacob W. Brownscombe , Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Jason Thiem , Department of Biology, Carleton University
Steven J. Cooke , Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada
The popularity of catch-and-release recreational angling is growing in developing countries, yet management agencies may not have the capacity for lengthy studies to determine how catch-and-release practices influence the fate of fish once released. With the assistance of local anglers and resource managers, we conducted a 3-day rapid assessment of peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris) in Puerto Rico to evaluate injury, physiological status, and short-term mortality following catch-and-release angling. Detailed quantification of the angling event and retaining fish in pens were used to estimate short-term mortality, while portable blood analysis techniques, reflex indices, and recovery bags were used to measure the physiological stress response to angling. A total of 96 fish (140-495 mm TL) were caught, and the overall survival rate for fish retained overnight was high. Most of the fish were hooked in the mouth regardless of lure and type hook type. Compared to baseline values, blood glucose and blood lactate increased following 30 min retention in recovery bags, and remained elevated at 2 hr post-capture. Although data from rapid assessments can inform best practices, management, and policy decisions, potential limitations and challenges will be discussed.