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Recent studies suggest that use of circle hooks can reduce the incidental mortality of some marine fishes and sea turtles in longline fisheries. Analysis of data from the Us national Marine fisheries service pelagic observer program (pop) revealed a significant hook effect on seabird
bycatch. Our analysis focused on the three areas with highest seabird bycatch, the northeast Us coast (60°W–71°W, 35°n–42°n), the Middle atlantic bight (71°W–82°W, 35°n–41°n), and the south atlantic bight (71°W–82°W, 30°n–35°n).
We developed two generalized linear models to examine effects of four hook treatments, i.e., four combinations of hook type and size (8/0 J-hook, 9/0 J-hook, 16/0 circle hook, and 18/0 circle hook), on: (1) the probability of catching seabirds on a set and (2) the positive catch rate (i.e.,
number of seabirds per 1000 hooks in longline sets with at least one seabird caught). Results indicated that combinations of hook type and size significantly influenced the probability of catching seabirds in the United states atlantic pelagic longline fishery. Use of the 8/0 J-hook led to
the highest probability of catching a seabird. Use of circle hooks may significantly reduce seabird bycatch in the Us atlantic pelagic longline fishery, but its effectiveness may be confounded by other factors such as bait type, fishing location, season, and target species. Results of our
study were limited by the small number of seabird captures in the pop data.
The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.