Catch-and-release may be harmful to fish

Mouth injuries caused by hooks affects ability to capture prey.


NSFW    RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA — Hook injuries caused by the catch and release method may actually be harmful to fish, study finds.

The catch-and-release method is common in recreational fishing, with most people opting to use barbless hooks to reduce the harm caused to the fish.

According to a UC Riverside study, fishing hooks cause injuries to the mouth of fish which in turn affects their ability to capture prey.

When the hook is removed, it leaves behind a hole in the mouth, according to the study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Researchers explained the hole disrupts the suction feeding system, creating negative pressure in the mouth relative to the water as the fish open their mouths to suck in their prey.

Scientists captured ten shiner perch using a hook and line and ten others using a net.

The captured fish were observed using high-speed cameras. Those with mouth injuries were found to have difficulty sucking prey into their mouths.

However, a researcher involved with the study said that further studies are needed to determine the long term effects of hook-related injuries on fish.
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