The steps you take can dramatically increase the chances the fish you catch and release will survive.
Fishing is a favorite pastime of Florida’s residents and visitors. Fishing pressure in Florida has increased dramatically over the past decade and is continuing to increase. In 2011, Florida’s recreational anglers caught roughly 121 million marine fish, 74 million of which were released. The Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) estimates more than 5.4 million recreational anglers took more than 22 million saltwater fishing trips statewide in Florida during 2016.
Fish are released for a variety of reasons, but increasing a fish’s chances of survival after catch and release will help ensure fish populations remain sustainable for future generations. Anglers can use various fish handling methods and gear to increase the survival of released fish.
Fish may die after release for a variety of reasons. The most common causes of post-release mortality are physiological stress on the fish resulting from struggle during capture, injuries caused by the hook, and mishandling of the fish by the angler. If you have caught a fish that you do not intend to keep or that cannot be harvested, there are several steps you can take to increase the chances the fish you catch and release will survive. Learn the following before you embark on your fishing trip or make sure that your charter captain and mate are familiar with the following:
Proper Fish Handling
Use Circle Hooks instead of “J” hooks
Barotrauma – Releasing Fish Caught in Deep Water
Venting Tools and Descending Devices
- “Limit your take, don’t take your limit!”
Gary Lachman, Blue Devil Fishing