Harvest pressure on coastal atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from recreational fishing relative to commercial fishing assessed from tag-recovery data
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLoS ONE 2016, 11(3) 10.1371/journal.pone.0149595
Marine recreational fishing is a popular outdoor activity. However, knowledge about the magnitude of recreational catches relative to commercial catches in coastal fisheries is generally sparse. Coastal Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a target species for recreational fishers in the North Atlantic. In Norway, recreational fishers are allowed to use a variety of traps and nets as well as long-line and rod and line when fishing for cod. From 2005 to 2013, 9729 cod (mean size: 40 cm, range: 15–93 cm) were tagged and released in coastal Skagerrak, southeast Norway. Both high-reward (NOK 500) and low-reward tags (NOK 50) were used in this study. Because some harvested fish (even those posting high-reward tags) may go unreported by fishers, reporting rates were estimated from mark-recovery models that incorporate detection parameters in their structure, in addition to survival and mortality estimates. During 2005 to 2013, a total of 1707 tagged cod were recovered and reported by fishers. We estimate the overall annual survival to be 33% (SE 1.5). Recreational rod and line fishing were responsible for 33.7% (SE 2.4) of total mortality, followed by commercial fisheries (15.1% SE 0.8) and recreational fixed gear (6.8% SE 0.4). Natural mortality was 44.4% (SE 2.5) of total mortality. Our findings suggest that recreational fishing—rod and line fishing in particular—is responsible for a substantial part of fishing mortality exerted on coastal cod in southern Norway.