Catch-and-release recreational angling is growing in developing countries in tropical regions and can generate valuable economic activity. However, management agencies may not have the capacity for studies to determine how angling and handling practices influence the fate of released fish, an important consideration for effective management of the resource. We developed a 3-day rapid assessment protocol and used it to evaluate the consequences of recreational fishing using artificial lures to target peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris) in the La Plata reservoir, Puerto Rico. Peacock bass were angled using conventional rod and reel and exposed to either short (minimum angling times and air exposures <45 s) or extended (extended angling times and air exposures >1 min) handling practices in water temperatures averaging 30 +/- 1 degrees C. Angling-related injuries, post-capture physiological stress (as measured by blood sampling) and reflex impairment were quantified prior to holding angled fish in floating net pens overnight to quantify mortality. Blood glucose and lactate levels were elevated post-capture, although the changes to reflex impairment were negligible. Injuries were minimal with most fish hooked in the jaw. Peacock bass exhibited high post-capture survival (95%, n =97, size range 140-495 mm total length) with mortality only associated with the extended handling treatment. Using a rapid assessment protocol we were able to generate useful information on the consequences of catch-and-release on a poorly studied sportfish and identify where efforts should be directed for future studies on this and similar species. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Bower, S. D., Danylchuk, A. J., Brownscombe, J. W., Thiem, J., & Cooke, S. J. (2016). Evaluating effects of catch-and-release angling on peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris) in a Puerto Rican reservoir: A rapid assessment approach. Fisheries Research, 175, 95-102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2015.11.014