Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1195–1209 | Cite as

Do we need species-specific guidelines for catch-and-release recreational angling to effectively conserve diverse fishery resources?

  • Steven J. Cooke
  • Cory D. Suski


Catch-and-release recreational angling has become very popular as a conservation strategy and as a fisheries management tool for a diverse array of fishes. Implicit in catch-and-release angling strategies is the assumption that fish experience low mortality and minimal sub-lethal effects. Despite the importance of this premise, research on this topic has focused on several popular North American sportfish, with negligible efforts directed towards understanding catch-and-release angling effects on alternative fish species. Here, we summarise the existing literature to develop five general trends that could be adopted for species for which no data are currently available: (1) minimise angling duration, (2) minimise air exposure, (3) avoid angling during extremes in water temperature, (4) use barbless hooks and artificial lures/flies, and (5) refrain from angling fish during the reproductive period. These generalities provide some level of protection to all species, but do have limitations. Therefore, we argue that a goal of conservation science and fisheries management should be the creation of species-specific guidelines for catch-and-release. These guidelines would take into account the inter-specific diversity of fishes and variation in fishing techniques. As recreational angling continues to grow in popularity, expanding to many developing countries, and targeting alternative species, it is important that reasonable data appropriate for specific fish and fisheries are available. The sustainable use and conservation of recreational fishery resources will depend upon the development and dissemination of effective catch-and-release angling strategies based upon sound science to stakeholders around the world.


Catch-and-release Fisheries conservation Hooking mortality Recreational angling Sustainable fisheries 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aas, Ø., Thailing, C.E., Ditton, R.B. 2002Controversy over catch-and-release recreational fishing in EuropePitcher, T.J.Hollingworth, C. eds. Recreational Fisheries: Ecological, Economic, and Social EvaluationBlackwell ScienceOxfordUK95106Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, W.G., Booth, R., Beddow, T.A., McKinley, R.S., Finstad, B., Økland, F.,  et al. 1998Remote monitoring of heart rate as a measure of recovery in angled Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar (L.)Hydrobiologia371/372233240Google Scholar
  3. Balon, E.K. 2000Defending fishes against recreational fishing: an old problem to be solved in the new millenniumEnvironmental Biology of Fishes5718Google Scholar
  4. Barnhart, R.A. 1989Symposium review: catch-and-release fishing, a decade of experienceNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management97480Google Scholar
  5. Beitinger, T.L., Bennett, W.A., McCauley, R.W. 2000Temperature tolerances of North American freshwater fishes exposed to dynamic changes in temperatureEnvironmental Biology of Fishes58237275Google Scholar
  6. Berra, T.M. 2001Freshwater Fish DistributionAcademic PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Booth, R.K., Kieffer, J.D., Davidson, K., Bielak, A.T., Tufts, B.L. 1995Effects of late-season catch and release angling on anaerobic metabolism acid-base status, survival and gamete viability in wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences52283290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boutilier, R.G. 1990Control and co-ordination of gas exchange in bimodal breathersBoutilier, R.G. eds. Advances in Comparative and Environmental Physiology 6: Vertebrate Gas Exchange: From Environment to CellSpringer-VerlagNew York280346Google Scholar
  9. Brobbel, M.A., Wilkie, M.P., Davidson, K., Kieffer, J.D., Bielak, A.T., Tufts, B.L. 1995Physiological effects of catch and release angling in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) at different stages of freshwater migrationCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences5320362043Google Scholar
  10. Campbell, P.M., Pottinger, T.G., Sumpter, J.P. 1992Stress reduces the quality of gametes produced by rainbow troutBiology of Reproduction4711401150PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Cooke, S.J., Suski, C.D. 2004Are circle hooks an effective tool for conserving marine and freshwater recreational catch-and-release fisheries?Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems14299326Google Scholar
  12. Cooke, S.J., Philipp, D.P., Schreer, J.F., McKinley, R.S. 2000Locomotory impairment of nesting male largemouth bass following catch-and-release anglingNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management20968977Google Scholar
  13. Cooke, S.J., Philipp, D.P., Dunmall, K.M., Schreer, J.F. 2001The influence of terminal tackle on injury, handling timeand cardiac disturbance of rock bassNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management21333342Google Scholar
  14. Cooke, S.J., Schreer, J.F., Dunmall, K.M., Philipp, D.P. 2002aStrategies for quantifying sublethal effects of marine catch-and-release angling: insights from novel freshwater applicationsAmerican Fisheries Society Symposium30121134Google Scholar
  15. Cooke, S.J., Schreer, J.F., Wahl, D.H., Philipp, D.P. 2002bPhysiological impacts of catch-and-release angling practices on largemouth bass and smallmouth bassAmerican Fisheries Society Symposium31489512Google Scholar
  16. Cooke, S.J., Suski, C.D., Barthel, B.L., Ostrand, K.G., Tufts, B.L., Philipp, D.P. 2003Injury and mortality induced by four hook types on bluegill and pumpkinseedNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management23883893Google Scholar
  17. Cowx, I.G. 2002Recreational fishingHart, P.J.B.Reynolds, J.D. eds. Handbook of Fish Biology and Fisheries, Vol. 2.Blackwell ScienceCambridgeUK367390Google Scholar
  18. Dempson, J.B., Furey, G., Bloom, M. 2002Effects of catch and release angling on Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., of the Conne RiverNewfoundlandFisheries Management and Ecology9139147Google Scholar
  19. Department of Fisheries and Oceans1998Effects of hook-and-release angling practises – Atlantic salmonDepartment of Fisheries and Oceans Stock Status Report D0-03OttawaCanada7 pp.Google Scholar
  20. Diodati, P.J., Richards, R.A. 1996Mortality of striped bass hooked and released in salt waterTransactions of the American Fisheries Society125300307Google Scholar
  21. Falk, M.R., Gillman, D.V., Dahlke, L.W. 1974Comparison of mortality between barbed and barbless hooked lake troutTechnical Report Series CEN/T-74-1Canada Department of Environmental Fisheries and Marine ServiceWinnipeg, ManitobaCanadaGoogle Scholar
  22. Farrell, A.P., Gamperl, A.K., Hicks, J.M.T., Shiels, H.A., Jain, K.E. 1996Maximum cardiac performance of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) at temperatures approaching their upper lethal limitJournal of Experimental Biology199663672PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Ferguson, R.A., Tufts, B.L. 1992Physiological effects of brief air exposure in exhaustively exercised rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): implications for ‘catch and release’ fisheriesCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences4911571162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fry, F.E.J. 1971The effect of environmental factors on the physiology of fishHoar, W.S.Randall, D.J. eds. Fish Physiology, Vol. VI. Environmental Relations and BehaviorAcademic PressNew York198Google Scholar
  25. Furimsky, M., Cooke, S.J., Suski, C.D., Wang, X., Tufts, B.L. 2003Respiratory and circulatory effects of hypoxia in largemouth bass and smallmouth bass: an application to ‘live-release’ competitive angling eventsTransactions of the American Fisheries Society13210651075Google Scholar
  26. Gilliland, G., Schramm, H., Schupp, B. 2001Keeping Tournament Bass Alive!Bass Anglers Sportmens SocietyMontgomery, AlabamaGoogle Scholar
  27. Gustaveson, A.W., Wydowski, R.S., Wedemeyer, G.A. 1991Physiological response of largemouth bass to angling stressTransactions of the American Fisheries Society120629636Google Scholar
  28. Hartley, R.A., Moring, J.R. 1995Differences in mortality between largemouth and smallmouth bass caught in tournamentsNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management15666670Google Scholar
  29. Helfman, G., Collette, B.B., Facey, D.E. 1997The Diversity of FishesBlackwell ScienceOxfordUKGoogle Scholar
  30. Kieffer, J.D. 2000Limits to exhaustive exercise in fishComparative Biochemistry and Physiology126A161179Google Scholar
  31. Kieffer, J.D., Kubacki, M.R., Phelan, F.J.S., Philipp, D.P., Tufts, B.L. 1995Effects of catch-and-release angling on nesting male smallmouth bassTransactions of the American Fisheries Society1247076Google Scholar
  32. Kieffer, J.D., Ferguson, R.A., Tompa, J.E., Tufts, B.L. 1996Relationship between body size and anaerobic metabolism in brook trout and largemouth bassTransactions of the American Fisheries Society125760767Google Scholar
  33. McKenzie, D.J., Serrini, G., Piraccini, G., Broni, P., Bolis, C.L. 1996Effects of diet on responses to exhaustive exercise in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis nilotica) acclimated to three different temperaturesComparative Biochemistry and Physiology114A4350Google Scholar
  34. Mills, D. 1992Ecology and Management of Atlantic SalmonChapman & HallNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Muoneke, M.I., Childress, W.M. 1994Hooking mortality: a review for recreational fisheriesReviews in Fisheries Science2123156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nelson, J.A., Tang, Y., Boutilier, R.G. 1994Differences in exercise physiology between two Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) populations from different environmentsPhysiological Zoology67330354Google Scholar
  37. Noble, R.L., Jones, T.W. 1999Managing fisheries with regulationsKohler, C.C.Hubert, W.A. eds. Inland Fisheries Management in North America2American Fisheries SocietyBethesdaMaryland455477Google Scholar
  38. Ostrand, K.G., Cooke, S.J., Wahl, D.H. 2004Effects of stress on largemouth bass reproductionNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management241038Google Scholar
  39. Pankhurst, N.W., Dedual, M. 1993Effects of capture and recovery on plasma levels of cortisol, lactate and gonadal steroids in a natural population of rainbow troutJournal of Fish Biology4510131025Google Scholar
  40. Pankhurst, N.W., van der Kraak, G. 1997Effects of stress on reproduction and growth of fishSociety for Experimental Biology Series627393Google Scholar
  41. Pelzman, R.J. 1978Hooking mortality of juvenile largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides California Fish and Game64185188Google Scholar
  42. Philipp, D.P., Toline, C.A., Kubacki, M.F., Philipp, D.B.F., Phelan, F.J.S. 1997The impact of catch-and-release angling on the reproductive success of smallmouth bass and largemouth bassNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management17557567Google Scholar
  43. Pitcher, T.J., Hollingworth, C. 2002Recreational Fisheries: Ecological, Economic, and Social EvaluationBlackwell ScienceOxfordUKGoogle Scholar
  44. Policansky, D. 2002Catch-and-release recreational fishing: a historical perspectivePitcher, T.J.Hollingworth, C. eds. Recreational Fisheries: Ecological, Economic, and Social EvaluationBlackwell ScienceOxfordUK7494Google Scholar
  45. Priede, I.G. 1985Metabolic scope in fishesTytler, P.Calow, P. eds. Fish Energetics: New PerspectivesThe Johns Hopkins University PressBaltimoreMaryland3364Google Scholar
  46. Prince, E.D., Ortiz, M., Venizelos, A. 2002A comparison of circle hook and ‘J’ hook performance in recreational catch-and-release fisheries for billfishAmerican Fisheries Society Symposium306679Google Scholar
  47. Prosser, C.L. 1991Environmental and Metabolic Animal PhysiologyWiley-LissNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  48. Quinn, S. 1996Trends in regulatory and voluntary catch-and-release fishingAmerican Fisheries Society Symposium16152162Google Scholar
  49. Robbins, W.H., MacCrimmon, H.R. 1974The Black-bass in America and OverseasBiomanagement Research EnterprisesSault Ste. MarieOntarioCanadaGoogle Scholar
  50. Rutledge, W.P., Pritchard, D.L. 1977Hooking mortality of largemouth bass captured by artificial lures and natural baitBarnhart, R.A.Roelofs, T.D. eds. Catch-and-Release Fishing as a Management ToolHumbolt State UniversityArcataCalifornia103107Google Scholar
  51. Schreer, J.F., Cooke, S.J., McKinley, R.S. 2001Cardiac response to variable forced exercise at different temperatures – an angling simulation for smallmouth bassTransactions of the American Fisheries Society130783795Google Scholar
  52. Schwalme, K., Mackay, W.C. 1985The influence of angling-induced exercise on the carbohydrate metabolism of northern pike (Esox lucius L.)Journal of Comparative Physiology B1566775Google Scholar
  53. Siewert, H.F., Cave, J.B. 1990Survival of released bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus caught on artificial flies, worms, and spinner luresJournal of Freshwater Ecology5407411Google Scholar
  54. Skomal, G.B., Chase, B.C., Prince, E.D. 2002A comparison of circle hook and straight hook performance in recreational fisheries for juvenile Atlantic bluefin tunaAmerican Fisheries Society Symposium305765Google Scholar
  55. Somero, G.N., Hofmann, G.E. 1996Temperature thresholds for protein adaptation: when does temperature change start to ‘hurt’?Society for Experimental Biology Seminar Series16124Google Scholar
  56. Suski, C.D., Killen, S.S., Morrissey, M.B., Lund, S.G., Tufts, B.L. 2003aPhysiological changes in largemouth bass caused by live-release angling tournaments in southeastern OntarioNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management23760769Google Scholar
  57. Suski, C.D., Svec, J.H., Ludden, J.B., Phelan, F.J.S., Philipp, D.P. 2003bThe effect of catch-and-release angling on the parental care behavior of male smallmouth bassTransactions of the American Fisheries Society132210218Google Scholar
  58. Thorne, T. 2002The translocation of barramundi (Lates calcarifer) for aquaculture and recreational fishery enhancement in western AustraliaFisheries and Management Paper 159Department of FisheriesWestern AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  59. Thorstad, E.B., Næsje, T.F., Fiske, P., Finstad, B. 2003Effects of hook and release on Atlantic salmon in the River Alta northern NorwayFisheries Research60293307Google Scholar
  60. US Department of the Interior2001National survey of fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreationU.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of CommerceWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  61. Wilde, G.R. 1998Tournament-associated mortality in black bassFisheries231222Google Scholar
  62. Wilde, G.R., Muoneke, M.I., Bettoli, P.W., Nelson, K.L., Hysmith, B.T. 2000Bait and temperature effects on striped bass hooking mortality in freshwaterNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management20810815Google Scholar
  63. Wilkie, M.P., Davidson, K., Brobbel, M.A., Kieffer, J.D., Booth, R.K., Bielak, A.T.,  et al. 1996Physiology and survival of wild Atlantic salmon following angling in warm summer watersTransactions of the American Fisheries Society125572580Google Scholar
  64. Wilkie, M.P., Brobbel, M.A., Davidson, K., Forsyth, L., Tufts, B.L. 1997Influences of temperature upon the post-exercise physiology of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences54503511Google Scholar
  65. Wood, C.M. 1991Acid–base and ion balancemetabolismand their interactions, after exhaustive exercise in fishJournal of Experimental Biology160285308Google Scholar
  66. Wood, C.M., Turner, J.D., Graham, M.S. 1983Why do fish die after severe exercise?Journal of Fish Biology22189201Google Scholar
  67. Wydoski, R.S. 1977Relation of hooking mortality and sublethal hooking stress to quality fishery managementBarnhart, R.A.Roelofs, T.D. eds. Catch-and-Release Fishing as a Management ToolHumbolt State UniversityArcataCalifornia4387Google Scholar
  68. Wydoski, R.S., Wedemeyer, G.A. 1976Problems in the physiological monitoring of wild fish populationsProceedings of the Annual Conference Western Association of Game and Fish Commisioners56200214Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Cooke
    • 1
  • Cory D. Suski
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest Sciences, Centre for Applied Conservation ResearchUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations