Great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) are a common marine predatory fish readily captured by anglers (frequently as incidental bycatch while pursuing other gamefish) and are consequently released at high rates. A study was conducted in coastal waters of The Bahamas to evaluate how common angling techniques influence their physiological status, hooking injury, and immediate mortality. Post-angling blood glucose and plasma sodium levels increased with fight-time duration, though lactate levels increased only with longer blood sampling times. Concentrations of plasma chloride and potassium were not influenced by angling duration. We did not observe any differences in injury, bleeding, hook removal, or hooking depth among three types of artificial lure tested. Most fish were hooked in non-critical areas and experienced minimal or no bleeding at the hook site, so immediate mortality upon landing was negligible. Although great barracuda appear to be fairly resilient to physiological stress and injury associated with catch-and-release angling and immediate mortality was insignificant, they typically reside in habitats where post-release predation is possible. As such, efforts should be made to promote careful handling to ensure high rates of survival.
- angling stress
- great barracuda
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science