Mortality and injuries of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) that are caught by pelagic longline
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By-catches of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) below legal size (44 cm total length) in the seasonal pelagic longline fisheries for haddock off the coast of Finnmark, northern Norway, are often high. The small fish are torn off the hook at the vessel side by means of a crucifier or a gaff and returned to the sea. It is generally thought that most of the discarded haddock die. An investigation to quantify this mortality was done in the season for this fishery in 1997. The undersized haddock that were torn off the longline hook were recaptured by gently catching them in a dip net as they reached the sea surface. Survival of haddock torn off by means of crucifier alone was compared to haddock torn of the hook by means of a gaff. The fish were transferred in tanks onboard a vessel to holding pens made of small meshed knotless netting floating at the surface. They were visually monitored for 7-11 days. The control group consisted of haddock fished with clean hooks without barbs and gently released by hand. At the end of the observation period the live and dead fish were examined for external damage. The experiment showed a total mortality of 39% for fish that had been torn off by means of a crucifier, and 53% mortality of fish released by means of a gaff. The mortality of the control group was 9%. The injuries of the fish were also analysed.
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