Pearl Bomber

Release Mortality Rates? What am I missing?

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It's good practice, if you see someone with a bad release, to respectfully say something. Doesn't always work, but never a bad idea to, at least, TRY to educate.

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Imagine running around as hard as you can, your max effort. Then, when you’re gassed, stick your head in a bucket of water for 60 seconds. 
 

Let me know how that works out for you. 

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7 hours ago, Roccus7 said:

Yes, the 9% was a well-run and documented study in that released fish were put into a large pen.  Yes, none of us see a lot of floaters, but we don't see the ones that die a day or two later and don't float, but drift to the bottom for lobster & crab food.

 

There are new studies being conducted, but until someone has a better study completed, that's the number and we have to deal with it...

Is bad science better than no science? It would take a lot to convince me of that.

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12 hours ago, DAQ said:

Is bad science better than no science? It would take a lot to convince me of that.

I feel the same way.

Seems like the pro- harvest guys (comm and rec both) really want to focus on that 9% to justify their killing. 

"Why can't we keep killing? Look how many are killed by C&R guys!".

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We owe it to the resource to do everything we can help reduce mortality.  I haven't kept a fish in two years, but I do recognize that this doesn't mean that I haven't killed any.   I have worked really hard on my catch and release techniques in order to minimize the stress on fish.  For example, when I fish with bait, I use bigger circle hooks and keep the rod in hand to set the hook quickly.  This seems to drastically reduce gut hooking.   I would say that 95% (or more) of my fish are hooked at the top of the lip now.  

 

When I do gut hook a fish, I don't even try to retrieve the hook.  I simply cut the line off as close to the hook as possible and release the fish. I don't feel too confident that these fish will survive as I don't buy the theory that the hook will rust in a few days.  I have thought about mashing barbs, but then the bait won't stay on.  I have also considered cutting the hook.  Any thoughts or techniques on handling gut hooked fish?  

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2 hours ago, mikez2 said:

I feel the same way.

Seems like the pro- harvest guys (comm and rec both) really want to focus on that 9% to justify their killing. 

"Why can't we keep killing? Look how many are killed by C&R guys!".

I agree. 
The only thing we know for sure is that every fish that gets kept and eaten is 100% dead. Everything that is caught and released at least has a chance to survive. 

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16 hours ago, Drew C. said:

Imagine running around as hard as you can, your max effort. Then, when you’re gassed, stick your head in a bucket of water for 60 seconds. 
 

Let me know how that works out for you.

Your above analogy, and defense of the impact of the "recreational" C&R mortality statistic is wrong by well documented observations of other fisheries. 

 

I will continue your analogy:  I am a fish running around as hard as I can, my max effort.  I am shocked and gassed.  I am jerked out of my muddy, high temperature, low oxygen content environment, weighed, a marker ring jammed in my jaw and tossed in a live well. Now I am riding around all day in somebody's hi powered bass boat.  At 5 PM, I am wrestled out and tossed in a plastic bag with 4 other fish (and some muddy low O2 water), and carried to where I stand in line to be weighed in.  Then I am tossed back in the bag, and carried down to some strange bay, cove, or water, miles away from where I was thinking about nesting... and released.  Yet, the freshwater LMB fishery is preserved in every lake, impoundment, mud puddle, and state where this species exists.

 

Almost every tool of fisheries management DEPENDS ON the concept of C&R:  size limits, slot limits, bag limits, gear restrictions, bycatch, etc.  (The only fisheries management tool that does not depend on C&R is the tool of closed seasons or closed regions).  The observation is that C&R really is an effective tool of fisheries preservation and management. C&R is NOT the impact and destruction of this striped bass fishery.  It is the opposite.  C&R certainly is successful for the freshwater LMB fishery.

 

What is the sole difference between the preservation and success of the freshwater LMB fishery and the freshwater trout fishery nation wide, versus our threatened saltwater striped bass resource?  Ans:  There is no legal commercial harvest, commercial sale, or business commerce of the freshwater resource. 

 

 

 

  

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Posted (edited)

4 mins ago, sauerkraut said:

Your above analogy, and defense of the impact of the "recreational" C&R mortality statistic is wrong by well documented observations of other fisheries. 

 

I will continue your analogy:  I am a fish running around as hard as I can, my max effort.  I am shocked and gassed.  I am jerked out of my muddy, high temperature, low oxygen content environment, weighed, a marker ring jammed in my jaw and tossed in a live well. Now I am riding around all day in somebody's hi powered bass boat.  At 5 PM, I am wrestled out and tossed in a plastic bag with 4 other fish (and some muddy low O2 water), and carried to where I stand in line to be weighed in.  Then I am tossed back in the bag, and carried down to some strange bay, cove, or water, miles away from where I was thinking about nesting... and released.  Yet, the freshwater LMB fishery is preserved in every lake, impoundment, mud puddle, and state where this species exists.

 

Almost every tool of fisheries management DEPENDS ON the concept of C&R:  size limits, slot limits, bag limits, gear restrictions, bycatch, etc.  (The only fisheries management tool that does not depend on C&R is the tool of closed seasons or closed regions).  The observation is that C&R really is an effective tool of fisheries preservation and management. C&R is NOT the impact and destruction of this striped bass fishery.  It is the opposite.  C&R certainly is successful for the freshwater LMB fishery.

 

What is the sole difference between the preservation and success of the freshwater LMB fishery and the freshwater trout fishery nation wide, versus our threatened saltwater striped bass resource?  Ans:  There is no legal commercial harvest, commercial sale, or business commerce of the freshwater resource. 

 

 

 

  

Yep. And how about those managed and respected C&R trout streams. While they are stocked to a degree, a high mortality rate would wipe them out in no time.

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12 mins ago, sauerkraut said:

Your above analogy, and defense of the impact of the "recreational" C&R mortality statistic is wrong by well documented observations of other fisheries. 

 

I will continue your analogy:  I am a fish running around as hard as I can, my max effort.  I am shocked and gassed.  I am jerked out of my muddy, high temperature, low oxygen content environment, weighed, a marker ring jammed in my jaw and tossed in a live well. Now I am riding around all day in somebody's hi powered bass boat.  At 5 PM, I am wrestled out and tossed in a plastic bag with 4 other fish (and some muddy low O2 water), and carried to where I stand in line to be weighed in.  Then I am tossed back in the bag, and carried down to some strange bay, cove, or water, miles away from where I was thinking about nesting... and released.  Yet, the freshwater LMB fishery is preserved in every lake, impoundment, mud puddle, and state where this species exists.

 

Almost every tool of fisheries management DEPENDS ON the concept of C&R:  size limits, slot limits, bag limits, gear restrictions, bycatch, etc.  (The only fisheries management tool that does not depend on C&R is the tool of closed seasons or closed regions).  The observation is that C&R really is an effective tool of fisheries preservation and management. C&R is NOT the impact and destruction of this striped bass fishery.  It is the opposite.  C&R certainly is successful for the freshwater LMB fishery.

 

What is the sole difference between the preservation and success of the freshwater LMB fishery and the freshwater trout fishery nation wide, versus our threatened saltwater striped bass resource?  Ans:  There is no legal commercial harvest, commercial sale, or business commerce of the freshwater resource. 

 

 

 

  

I agree with that. If C&R didn’t work than LMB would be extinct. The only difference is a lot of people fish bait for stripers and gut hook them. Then there’s people fishing big multi treble hook baits tearing up gills and eyes. Also the long photo shoots and improper revival afterwards. Saltwater C&R anglers need to do better. It’s still better than killing, eating and selling them though. 

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On 4/5/2022 at 10:00 PM, DAQ said:

Is bad science better than no science? It would take a lot to convince me of that.

There's a new study that will be coming out of Massachusetts very soon.  Uses acoustic tags on fish returned to open water, and will represent state of the art research.

 

From the rumbles that I'm hearing so far--and these are from third-party sources, not from Massachusetts researchers--it will probably confirm the 9% number; if the release mortality number changes, and remember that this is a combined number using different baits, lures, hooks, etc., it probably won't be chaning downward.

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19 hours ago, sauerkraut said:

Your above analogy, and defense of the impact of the "recreational" C&R mortality statistic is wrong by well documented observations of other fisheries. 

 

I will continue your analogy:  I am a fish running around as hard as I can, my max effort.  I am shocked and gassed.  I am jerked out of my muddy, high temperature, low oxygen content environment, weighed, a marker ring jammed in my jaw and tossed in a live well. Now I am riding around all day in somebody's hi powered bass boat.  At 5 PM, I am wrestled out and tossed in a plastic bag with 4 other fish (and some muddy low O2 water), and carried to where I stand in line to be weighed in.  Then I am tossed back in the bag, and carried down to some strange bay, cove, or water, miles away from where I was thinking about nesting... and released.  Yet, the freshwater LMB fishery is preserved in every lake, impoundment, mud puddle, and state where this species exists.

 

Almost every tool of fisheries management DEPENDS ON the concept of C&R:  size limits, slot limits, bag limits, gear restrictions, bycatch, etc.  (The only fisheries management tool that does not depend on C&R is the tool of closed seasons or closed regions).  The observation is that C&R really is an effective tool of fisheries preservation and management. C&R is NOT the impact and destruction of this striped bass fishery.  It is the opposite.  C&R certainly is successful for the freshwater LMB fishery.

 

What is the sole difference between the preservation and success of the freshwater LMB fishery and the freshwater trout fishery nation wide, versus our threatened saltwater striped bass resource?  Ans:  There is no legal commercial harvest, commercial sale, or business commerce of the freshwater resource. 

 

 

 

  

Can't compare striped bass, which evolved to spend most of their time in a cool, well-oxygenated ocean, with largemouth, that evolved to survive in a muddy, hot, low-oxygen swamp.  The largemouth is better suited to rough handling because of its native habitat.  

 

A mishandled bluefish will die even faster than a bass, while a redfish is a lot more likely to survive, just because one is suited to open water with plenty of oxygen, while the other haunts warm, sometimes near-hypoxic bayous.

 

The fact that largemouth not only don't support a commercial fishery, but also taste like swampwater and are generally released by serious bass fishermen, also plays a part in their survival.  As far as trout go, most trout fisheries target rubber fish spilled out of hatchery tanks; those that rely on natural reproduction are tightly regulated, with a lot of no-kill and fly fishing only, which puts a serious damper on recreational harvest, and not just the lack of a commercial fishery.

 

Closing the commercial fishery would, by itself, do nothing to protect the bass if recreational regulations were relaxed, New Jersey "bonus fish" style, to allow anglers to increase their kill.  Even if the commercial fishery was completely eliminated, you've only reduced fishing mortality by about 10%, which won't be enough to rebuild the stock and keep it helthy in the long term.

 

A dead fish doesn't care who kills it, or why it was killed.  Reducing overall mortality is the key to a healthy stock; focusing on the mortality rate, rather than on who causes whatever mortality remains, will get the bass to where it needs to be.

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19 hours ago, sauerkraut said:

What is the sole difference between the preservation and success of the freshwater LMB fishery and the freshwater trout fishery nation wide, versus our threatened saltwater striped bass resource?  Ans:  There is no legal commercial harvest, commercial sale, or business commerce of the freshwater resource. 

There is no doubt that the commercial harvest of stripers plays a role in the amount of fish that are taken out of the system but that doesn't excuse the poor handling of stripers by recs at all. Like @CWitek said largemouth and stripers are completely different fish. Try handling a trout in the way you described and see how well it does in that live well, not all fish can take the level of abuse a largemouth can. If people took the same steps to handle striped bass as they did responsibly handling trout (keep the fish wet, crush barbs, single hooks and leaving fish alone when conditions are tough for release whether that means high water temp or huge surf crashing into the rocks) I believe that release mortality would be well under 9%. I don't fish around crowds much but many of the guys I run into still swing their bass onto the rocks and let it bang around for a bit before snapping a few pictures, removing both sets of barbed trebles and cartwheeling it back into crashing waves. 

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13 hours ago, CWitek said:

1.  Can't compare striped bass.   The largemouth is better suited to rough handling because of its native habitat.  

 

2.  The fact that largemouth not only don't support a commercial fishery, but also taste like swamp water.

 

3.  Closing the commercial fishery would, by itself, do nothing to protect the bass if recreational regulations were relaxed.

12 hours ago, EarningStripes207 said:

4.  There is no doubt that the commercial harvest of stripers plays a role in the amount of fish that are taken out of the system but that doesn't excuse the poor handling of stripers by recs at all. Like @CWitek said largemouth and stripers are completely different fish. 

5.  New Jersey "bonus fish" style, to allow anglers to increase their kill.  Even if the commercial fishery was completely eliminated, you've only reduced fishing mortality by about 10%, which won't be enough to rebuild the stock and keep it helthy in the long term.

 

6.  A dead fish doesn't care who kills it, or why it was killed.  Reducing overall mortality is the key to a healthy stock.

My thoughts run differently:  I submit that the existence of, and the, continued exposure of, this striped bass resource to the harvest, sale, and business commerce of the commercial fishing industry is entirely underestimated.   Unfortunately, some of your above enumerated arguments protect and defend this status quo.    

 

1.  C&R is a fisheries management tool.  We are not comparing species here. The tool works in our striper fishery also.  Yes, I agree it can work better.  I am certain that both you and I are catching ever more stripers with evidence that they have been caught before.   

 

2.  Yes.  This is a significant disadvantage for striped bass management because of their edibility.   But FL snook taste damned good also.  When that fishery was going down the drain... how did the State reverse this demise?  The legal commercial harvest, sale and commerce was eliminated.  Why did this management tool work when nothing short of it did in this snook fishery?  I submit that the key idea here is ENFORCEMENT.  IF you do not take the dollar sign $$ off the backs of the striped bass resource, or any fishery, you will not rehabilitate it.  The existence of a commercial fishing industry-- or legal business commerce for striped bass-- just leaves open too many temptations for profit and loopholes to do so.  This is why Amendment 7 will fail.

 

3&5.   I agree that recreational regulations cannot be relaxed. I am even in favor of more of such "recreational" regulations, and especially more ENFORCEMENT of same.  I will turn your statement around:  "Increasing recreational regulations, would, by itself, do nothing to protect the bass if commercial fishery regulations were even maintained". Amendment 7 will fail as currently written because it allows and maintains a commercial industry/harvest of this resource which, not only magnifies demand, but is unenforcable.

 

4.  See 1.

6.  Yessir:  That is the theoretical plan.  Regarding this C&R issue... let us decrease the number of hooks in the water.  

*Apply any and all of the fisheries management tools as necessary (closed seasons, bag limits, slot limits, gear restrictions, by catch management, etc.)

*Education of the masses re the privilege and value of this striped bass public resource beyond the $$ dollar sign and its food value.

*NO special user group carveouts for special access to the resource.  We are all individuals.

*ENFORCEMENT.  

*It is time for the commercial fishery of this resource to be eliminated.

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, sauerkraut said:

My thoughts run differently:  I submit that the existence of, and the, continued exposure of, this striped bass resource to the harvest, sale, and business commerce of the commercial fishing industry is entirely underestimated.   Unfortunately, some of your above enumerated arguments protect and defend this status quo.    

 

1.  C&R is a fisheries management tool.  We are not comparing species here. The tool works in our striper fishery also.  Yes, I agree it can work better.  I am certain that both you and I are catching ever more stripers with evidence that they have been caught before.   

 

2.  Yes.  This is a significant disadvantage for striped bass management because of their edibility.   But FL snook taste damned good also.  When that fishery was going down the drain... how did the State reverse this demise?  The legal commercial harvest, sale and commerce was eliminated.  Why did this management tool work when nothing short of it did in this snook fishery?  I submit that the key idea here is ENFORCEMENT.  IF you do not take the dollar sign $$ off the backs of the striped bass resource, or any fishery, you will not rehabilitate it.  The existence of a commercial fishing industry-- or legal business commerce for striped bass-- just leaves open too many temptations for profit and loopholes to do so.  This is why Amendment 7 will fail.

 

3&5.   I agree that recreational regulations cannot be relaxed. I am even in favor of more of such "recreational" regulations, and especially more ENFORCEMENT of same.  I will turn your statement around:  "Increasing recreational regulations, would, by itself, do nothing to protect the bass if commercial fishery regulations were even maintained". Amendment 7 will fail as currently written because it allows and maintains a commercial industry/harvest of this resource which, not only magnifies demand, but is unenforcable.

 

4.  See 1.

6.  Yessir:  That is the theoretical plan.  Regarding this C&R issue... let us decrease the number of hooks in the water.  

*Apply any and all of the fisheries management tools as necessary (closed seasons, bag limits, slot limits, gear restrictions, by catch management, etc.)

*Education of the masses re the privilege and value of this striped bass public resource beyond the $$ dollar sign and its food value.

*NO special user group carveouts for special access to the resource.  We are all individuals.

*ENFORCEMENT.  

*It is time for the commercial fishery of this resource to be eliminated.

  

I will begin with the observation that it is always easier to conserve the other guy's fish.  Closing commercial fisheries will always be attractive to anglers, because it costs them nothing.  

 

While one is free to believe that the impacts of the commercial fishery on the striped bass resource is underestimated, policy should be based on data, not on beliefs unsupported by verifiable and objectively obtained facts.  And right now, the data indicates that anglers are responsible for about 90% of the fishing mortality, while the commercial fishery is only responsible for about 10%.  Until that data is superseded by new figures, it means that the commercial fishery has a relatively minor impact on the striped bass fishery.

 

With respect to some of the enumerated points:

 

1.  Yes, catch and release is a fishery management tool.  But its use can't be decoupled from the species involved, because the vulnerability of that species plays a role in deciding whether catch and release is an appropriate tool.  Comparing striped bass to largemouth or trout, without also considering the impacts of stress levels, etc. to release mortality, accomplishes little.,  I personally haven't brought a bass home for over 30 years, but I don't pretend that I haven't killed some over that time, even though I do my best to practice in-water release, fish adeqauate gear, don't bait fish, etc.  I believe that it is an effective tool for striped bass management.  At the same time, there is no difference, from a biological standpoint, between release mortality, recreational landings mortality, commercial discard mortality, and commercial landings mortality.  All remove fish from the population.  The key to rebuilding the stock lies in reducing fishing mortality from all sources.

 

2.  Agreed on enforcement.  However, Florida's ban on commercial snook fishing dates back, if I recall correctly, to the 1950s.  Having never seen the minures of the debate over such closure, I can't say whether it was inspired by a desire to rebuild a declining stock, or a desire to feed the recreational fishing aspect of a booming tourist economy that was becoming increasingly impoprtant to the state.  And commercial fishing wasn't the only change that Florida made; it imposed meaningful regulations on the recreational fishery that included significant closed seasons, slot limits as narrow as 2 inches, a special snook tag to fund management efforts and, given the water quality issues in parts of the state, even a complete recreational closure off southwest Florida.  So pointing solely to the commercial closure doesn't come close to telling the whole story, particularly since most of the additional recreational measures were imposed after the commercial fishery was closed.  As I remember, even in the late 1960s and maybe early 1970s, there was no closed recreational season, an 18" size limit, and a bag limit of either 2 or 3 fish per day.  The fact that those regulations have been significantly tightened demonstrates that the recreational fishery put substantial stress on the resource, even absent a commercial fishery, and that stronger recreational rules were needed to protect the species.

 

3.  The assertion that tightening recreational regulations would accomplish nothing so long as the commercial fishery survives is contrary to all available data.  If the commercial fishery was closed, we reduce fishing mortality by about 10% (and that assumes that no bass are killed through discard mortality in squid, herring, bluefish, or other commercial fisheries; in reality, the real savings would be closer to 8 or 9 percent).  But if recreational landings was outlawed, we'd save much more.  Using the 2017 data from the last stock assessment, such recreational landings account for 42%f of all fishing mortality.  So, even assuming that 9% of those fish currently landed would succumb to release mortality, and completely discounting the likelihood of some people exiting the fishery if they can't take a fish home, outlawing recreational retention would yield at least a 38% reduction, almost four times the savings gained by closing the commercial fishery.  Unless someone can come up with a different set of hard numbers, that pretty well makes the case for additional recreational restrictions.

 

In the end, reducing F, through any and all means necessary, will be needed to rebuild the fishery.  How that is accomplished is far less important than getting the job done,

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I would report every catch, release, and kill for all of my fish if we shut down commercial fishing. I'm thinking we should try to shut down commercial fishing for about 10 years to see if it made a difference looking over 10 years worth of useful information. All rec fishing would be C&R only. That is the only way to be sure we are dealing with real data. 

 

Tuna underwent one of the bigger come backs of all time. However, it was a concerted effort that went all the way to the menu and off of peoples plates. If we stop thinking of striper as some "stock" or food supply, maybe they would have a chance to come back around. 

 

Anyways, I would be happy to report my catch/kill rate for all trips. Never been asked yet though... 

 

 

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