This is a e mail thread that came in and I found interesting. C&R has gotten to be a tool used but the consequences have not been vetted completely. For us in GH it has been a issue as the mortality numbers have been ah .. working .. ah oh hell pretty much made up by WDF&W or another way to say it is best guess. Staff twice in meetings stated right out the QIN called BS. Add to that the NT Commercials use of ( or lack of ) recovery boxes is just pure BS when calculating moralities. The year that WDF&W put in a C&R NT Commercial on Coho in Willapa comes to mind which literally had dead salmon floating all over the place.

So as things are a bit slow I thought I would throw this up with NOF ( or something ) not that far off.

Thread bottom up:

I've been following all your posts with interest but I obviously haven't chimed in to date. Your message below has prompted me to pass along that I've been doing a bit of work lately to try and acquaint a few of the loud voices up our way with real information rather than mythology. Have a look at a couple of the posts at The back to back pieces on October 9 and 22 speak to several of your points.

My bottom line is we've oversold catch and release as an angling panacea. For BC's remaining wild steelhead fisheries we're now catching too many fish too often for there not to be consequences. Days ahead are going to see much debate about limits on the number of fish that can and should be caught per angler per unit time. I can hardly wait!

As for the ocean fisheries, C&R is a colossal problem still not adequately recognized. I've seen far too much of the mishandling of ocean caught chinook and coho to accept there isn't a major problem with post release performance and/or mortality. Those original studies by DFO sport fishing "professionals" up on the Queen Charlotte Islands hardly mimicked what goes on in other times and places. I knew all the people involved in those studies very well and I spoke with them at the time about the optics of doing their work as guests of the biggest commercial sport fishing operator in the world (that was Bob Wright at the time) and how inappropriate it was to be applying the results of highly controlled experiments conducted by fish handling experts to the general angling community. You can appreciate how far any caution around the business interests of Mr. Wright travelled.

Anyway, "onward" we go. All the best.

Subject: Re: "Catch and release" and charterboat xxxxxx lobby

There are (at least) two aspects to C&R and the second gets very little research because of the difficulty in actually doing it. It is easy to measure short-term survival. As noted, release into a pen or watch the fish swim away isn't "really" testing C&R but it is what we have. And, as is often discussed, most studies are conducted using anglers who are either highly skilled or highly supporting of having the fish survive. Short air exposure, etc.

There was a really good summary article in AFS's Fisheries about a year ago. What caught my eye was that some work on Atlantic Salmon showed lowered smolt production for fish that had been C&R'd. This is the key to C&R. How is long term survival and productivity changed. Take steelhead, for example. If a female is C&R'd, successfully spawns, and kelts all is good, right? No. If she spawned lower in the watershed due to loss of energy she will seed less stream and produce fewer smolts. If she spawns shallower in the gravel due to the same energy concerns the eggs are subject to scour at lower flows; fewer fry produced. If she kelts out but is so weakened that she does not actually survive the transition to salt we lose the repeat spawner that is critical to production. This resorption of eggs post release is considered a problem in sturgeon.

We have to look at the affect on the individual as a whole, not a one or two day window in its life. The problem is how to test. A fish can't be caught or not caught. Therefore, we don't know how C&R affected the individual.

All that said, we know that C&R does work for fish; many species are flourishing under it. We know that it works for salmonids; again many populations are doing well under it. I would add, though, that the most successful C&R fisheries for salmonids (generally trout, some of which are C&R'd in marine waters but most in fresh) occur on post-spawning fish. Summer fisheries on spring spawners. Even the summer fisheries on fall spawners allow the fish a chance to eat and recover. C&R on fish close to spawning (steelhead, FW salmon) probably directly reduces spawning success. This may not be bad if the fishery access, say 10% of the whole run. But as access rises, population gets hurt.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in