Academic article

Survival of Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) following catch-and-release angling

Ferter, Keno; Rikardsen, Audun H.; Evensen, Tor Hatten; Svenning, Martin; Tracey, Sean R.

Publication details

Journal: Fisheries Research, vol. 186 Part 3, p. 634–641–8, 2017

Publisher: Elsevier

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 0165-7836
Electronic: 1872-6763

Open Access: none


Catch-and-release (C&R) of Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) has been heavily debated as amanagement strategy to reduce fishing mortality of this species while maintaining angling opportunitiesin Norwegian recreational fisheries. However, little information exists on what proportion of the fish sur-vive post release. To test if C&R affects short- and long-term survival of Atlantic halibut, halibut (>120 cm;N = 11) were caught on angling gear using commonly used fishing lures, and tagged with both pop-upsatellite archival tags (PSATs) and acoustic transmitters. Survival was determined by the vertical migra-tion patterns of individuals measured by the tags during individual monitoring periods ranging from 3to 248 days (median 80 days) after the C&R event. No short-term mortality was observed post release. Interms of long-term survival, eight halibut were confirmed to have survived the monitoring periods whileone halibut had insufficient data. For the other two individuals, the acoustic transmitters showed a cessa-tion of vertical movement after 38 and 44 days, which could neither be verified nor disproven by the PSATrecordings (due to earlier detachment and tag malfunction of the PSATs). Since premature tag sheddingwas frequent in this study, it cannot be concluded if the cessation of vertical movement was because oftag shedding or delayed mortality. The results of this study indicate that Atlantic halibut is resilient toC&R angling, and that C&R of Atlantic halibut may be an effective management strategy to reduce fishing-induced mortality. However, the effects of severe hooking injuries, impacts on smaller individuals, andpotential sublethal consequences of C&R were not covered in this study, and are still poorly understood.To minimize negative impacts of C&R and to promote fish welfare, fisheries managers are encouraged toimplement best practice C&R angling guidelines for Atlantic halibut.© 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Acoustic telemetry, Behavior, Pop-up satellite archival tags, Post-release mortality, Recreational fisheries, Tagging