Exercise intensity while hooked is associated with physiological status of longline-captured sharks

Ian A. Bouyoucos, Brendan S. Talwar, Edward J. Brooks, Jacob W. Brownscombe, Steven J. Cooke, Cory D. Suski, John W. Mandelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some shark populations face declines owing to targeted capture and by-catch in longline fisheries. Exercise intensity during longline capture and physiological status may be associated, which could inform management strategies aimed at reducing the impacts of longline capture on sharks. The purpose of this study was to characterize relationships between exercise intensity and physiological status of longline-captured nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) and Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi). Exercise intensity of longline-captured sharks was quantified with digital cameras and accelerometers, which was paired with blood-based physiological metrics from samples obtained immediately post-capture. Exercise intensity was associated with physiological status following longline capture. For nurse sharks, blood pH increased with capture duration and the proportion of time exhibiting low-intensity exercise. Nurse sharks also had higher blood glucose and plasma potassium concentrations at higher sea surface temperatures. Associations between exercise intensity and physiological status for Caribbean reef sharks were equivocal; capture duration had a positive relation with blood lactate concentrations and a negative relationship with plasma chloride concentrations. Because Caribbean reef sharks did not appear able to influence blood pH through exercise intensity, this species was considered more vulnerable to physiological impairment. While both species appear quite resilient to longline capture, it remains to be determined if exercise intensity during capture is a useful tool for predicting mortality or tertiary sub-lethal consequences. Fisheries management should consider exercise during capture for sharks when developing techniques to avoid by-catch or reduce physiological stress associated with capture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalConservation Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • By-catch
  • Elasmobranch
  • Experimental fishing gear
  • Physiological stress
  • Sub-lethal effect
  • fisheries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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