Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 417–433 | Cite as

Effects of pelagic longline hook size on species- and size-selectivity and survival

  • Eric Gilman
  • Milani Chaloupka
  • Michael Musyl
Research Paper


Pelagic fisheries can have profound effects on ecosystem structure and functioning, affecting ecosystem services, including fisheries production, and threaten vulnerable bycatch species. Controlling hook size could manage the species- and size-selectivity and survival of target and incidental catch. To test this hypothesis, we conducted experimental pelagic longline fishing in the western tropical Pacific testing a control hook and two hooks with wider minimum widths. Data such as catch, length and condition were fit to response-specific Bayesian geo-additive generalized additive and linear mixed regression models. Model fits were assessed using posterior predictive check tests. Catch rates of both retained and discarded species were significantly higher on medium hooks. Target tuna species were significantly larger and had significantly higher at-vessel survival rates on wider hooks. Significantly larger billfishes, also market species, were caught on narrowest hooks. These effects of hook width on length and survival, however, are a much smaller determinant of economic value of the catch than effects on catch rates. If input controls are limiting, then, relative to medium hooks, continued use of narrowest hooks would maintain current economic viability without causing a significant increase in discard catch levels, including of vulnerable sharks. If market species output controls are limiting, because the ratio of retained to discarded catch on medium hooks was greater than on narrowest hooks, medium hooks would generate lower discard levels. Further research assessing single-factor effects of longline hook width is needed to support robust meta-analyses that account for fishery-specific effects.


Bycatch Hook width Longline Selectivity Tuna 



This study was a project of The Nature Conservancy Indo-Pacific Tuna Program. We are grateful for at-sea data collection conducted by Sone Misross and Ivan Sesebo, MRAG Asia Pacific. We are thankful for the participation of Captains Zhang Ding Xin, Lin Quan Gui and Lu Jing De; and crew of F/V SLC901 and F/V HNY769. Logistical support was kindly provided by Terry Huang, Palau International Traders Inc.; Derrick Wang, Luen Thai Fishing Venture, Shane McGrath, MRAG Asia Pacific; and Mark Zimring Lotus Vermeer, Yvonne Ueda and Bibbie Kumangai, The Nature Conservancy. We are grateful for assistance provided by Matt Merrifield, The Nature Conservancy, with visualizing the spatial locations of research fishing sets. Steve Beverly, fisheries consultant, contributed to development of the data forms and the study design. Dan Curran, NOAA Fisheries, kindly assisted with hook minimum width and wire diameter measurements. We thank anonymous referees for comments that substantially improved the manuscript. We are extremely grateful to NOAA Fisheries for donating a portion of the hooks used in the experiment.

Supplementary material

11160_2017_9509_MOESM1_ESM.docx (485 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 484 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hawaii Pacific UniversityHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Ecological Modelling Services and University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.Pelagic Research GroupHonoluluUSA

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