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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Davis, M.W. 2002. Key principles for understanding fish bycatch discard mortality. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 59:1834-1843.


The mortality of discarded fish bycatch is an important issue in fisheries management and, because it is generally unmeasured, represents a large source of uncertainty in estimates of fishing mortality worldwide. Development of accurate measures of discard mortality requires fundamental knowledge, based on principles of bycatch stressor action, of why discarded fish die. To date, discard mortality studies in the field have focused on capture stressors. Recent laboratory discard experiments have demonstrated the significant role of environmental factors, size- and species-related sensitivity to stressors, and interactions of stressors, which increase mortality. In addition, delayed mortality was an important consideration in experimental design. The discard mortality problem is best addressed through a combination of laboratory investigation of classes of bycatch stressors to develop knowledge of key principles of bycatch stressor action and field experiments under realistic fishing conditions to verify our understanding and make predictions of discard mortality. This article makes the case for a broader ecological perspective on discard mortality that includes a suite of environmental and biological factors that may interact with capture stressors to increase stress and mortality.


Last updated 30 March, 2009

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