Carruthers, E.H.; Schneider, D.C.; Neilson, J.D. (2009). Estimating the odds of survival and identifying mitigation opportunities for common bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries. Biological Conservation. 142 (11) 2620-2630.
To evaluate how fishing practices affect bycatch survival and to identify opportunities to reduce bycatch mortality, we estimated the odds of hooking survival for common bycatch species in the Canadian long-line fishery for swordfish (Xiphias gladius) and tunas (Thunnus spp.) fishing in the North Atlantic. Generalized linear models, with binomial response, were based on 859 sets observed between 2001 and 2004 and were tested using data from 2005 and 2006. Bycatch included targeted species in poor condition or below regulatory size limits. Odds of survival were two to five times higher for swordfish, yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), pelagic stingray (Pteroplatytrygon violacea), porbeagle (Lamna nasus) and blue shark (Prionace glauca) caught on circle hooks compared to J-hooks during the 2001-2004 period. Further, odds of severe hooking injuries decreased for three shark species caught on circle hooks. We found no conservation benefit for loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) from circle hook use. Increased circle hook use coincided with increased targeting and higher landings of tunas. Hooking survival rates and, therefore opportunities to reduce bycatch mortalities differed among the 10 species commonly discarded or released. Where the odds of survival to the time of release are high (e.g., loggerhead turtles, pelagic stingray, blue shark), methods to reduce post-release mortality can be considered. Where the odds of hooking survival are low (e.g., swordfish and longnose lancetfish, Alepisaurus ferox). methods to reduce encounter rates would have greater conservation impact. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserve