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Postrelease mortality in istiophorid billfish

Publication: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
28 November 2014


Meta-analysis (inverse-variance, random-effects model) involving 46 studies was used to estimate the effect size of postrelease mortality (Fr) in six istiophorid billfish species (black marlin (Istiompax indica), blue marlin (Makaira nigricans), longbill spearfish (Tetrapturus pfluegeri), sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus), striped marlin (Kajikia audax), and white marlin (Kajikia albida)) following release from recreational, longline, and harpoon fishing gears. The studies involved 400 reporting pop-up satellite archival tags and 64 reporting acoustic (ultrasonic) tags. Despite fish being captured, tagged, and released under widely disparate conditions, locations, and gear types, Fr was homogeneous among species. Variability in Fr was principally due to random sampling error within studies with no evident patterns. Fifteen studies (33% of tags) indicated no mortality, and the overall summary effect size for Fr was 13.5% (95% CI: 10.3%–17.6%). Since the random-effects model decomposed to a fixed-effect model when the between-studies variance T2 = 0.00, results were confirmed using exact nonparametric inferential tests and sensitivity analyses. Our results support earlier findings in the Atlantic and substantiate the majority of istiophorid billfish survive when released from recreational and longline fishing gear, clearly implying catch-and-release as a viable management option that permits fishing activity while protecting parental biomass and the fishery.


Une méta-analyse (inverse de la variance avec modèle à effets aléatoires) de 46 études a été utilisée pour estimer la taille des effets de la mortalité après remise à l’eau (Fr) chez six espèces d’istiophoridés (makaire noir (Istiompax indica), makaire bleu (Makaira nigricans), makaire bécune (Tetrapturus pfluegeri), espadon voilier (Istiophorus platypterus), marlin rayé (Kajikia audax) et makaire blanc (Kajikia albida)) après leur libération d’engins de pêche sportive, à la palangre ou au harpon. Les études comptaient 400 étiquettes de collecte de données par satellite détachables et 64 étiquettes acoustiques (ultrasoniques). Bien que les poissons aient été capturés, marqués et relâchés dans des conditions et emplacements très variés et avec un éventail d’engins, Fr était homogène parmi les espèces. La variabilité de Fr était principalement due à l’erreur d’échantillonnage aléatoire dans les différentes études, sans motif évident. Quinze études (33 % des étiquettes) n’indiquaient aucune mortalité et la taille sommaire globale des effets pour Fr était de 13,5 % (IC 95 % : 10,3 % 17,6 %). Puisque le modèle à effets aléatoires se décomposait en un modèle à effets fixes quand la variance entre études était T2 = 0,00, les résultats ont été confirmés à l’aide de tests inférentiels non paramétriques exacts et d’analyses de la sensibilité. Nos résultats appuient des résultats antérieurs pour l’Atlantique et révèlent que la majorité des istiophoridés survivent quand ils sont relâchés d’engins de pêche sportive ou à la palangre, ce qui indique clairement que la pêche avec remise à l’eau est une option de gestion valable qui permet l’activité de pêche tout en protégeant la biomasse parentale et la ressource. [Traduit par la Rédaction]

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cover image Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume 72Number 4April 2015
Pages: 538 - 556
Editor: Terrance Quinn II


Received: 13 July 2014
Accepted: 24 November 2014
Accepted manuscript online: 28 November 2014
Version of record online: 28 November 2014


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Michael K. Musyl* [email protected]
Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
National Taiwan University, Institute of Oceanography, Taipei City 10617, Taiwan.
Pelagic Research Group LLC, P.O. Box 10243, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA.
Christopher D. Moyes
Queen’s University, Department of Biology, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6, Canada.
Richard W. Brill
NOAA/NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, 74 Magruder Road, Highlands, NJ 07732, USA.
Bruno L. Mourato
Departamento de Ciências do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Av. Almirante Saldanha da Gama, 89. Ponta da Praia, Santos, SP-CEP 11030-400, Brasil.
Andrew West
Pacific Ecology Laboratory, 75-5851 Kuakini Highway, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA.
Lianne M. McNaughton
Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA.
Wei-Chuan Chiang
Eastern Marine Biology Research Center, Fisheries Research Institute, Cheggong Township, Taitung County 96143, Taiwan.
Chi-Lu Sun
National Taiwan University, Institute of Oceanography, Taipei City 10617, Taiwan.


Present address: Pelagic Research Group LLC, P.O. Box 10243, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA.
Present address: Turtle Wahine Research & Designs, 330 Wollaston Rise, Saskatoon, SK S4J 4GS, Canada.

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