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Understanding the Complexity of Catch-and-Release in Recreational Fishing: An Integrative Synthesis of Global Knowledge from Historical, Ethical, Social, and Biological Perspectives

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Most research on catch-and-release (C&R) in recreational fishing has been conducted from a disciplinary angle focusing on the biological sciences and the study of hooking mortality after release. This hampers understanding of the complex and multifaceted nature of C&R. In the present synopsis, we develop an integrative perspective on C&R by drawing on historical, philosophical, socio-psychological, biological, and managerial insights and perspectives. Such a perspective is helpful for a variety of reasons, such as 1) improving the science supporting successful fisheries management and conservation, 2) facilitating dialogue between managers, anglers, and other stakeholders, 3) minimizing conflict potentials, and 4) paving the path toward sustainable recreational fisheries management. The present work highlights the array of cultural, institutional, psychological, and biological factors and dimensions involved in C&R. Progress toward successful treatment of C&R might be enhanced by acknowledging the complexity inherent in C&R recreational fishing.
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Keywords: angling; animal welfare; catch-and-release; environmental ethics; fishery management; history; hooking mortality; human dimensions; philosophy; recreational fishing; sublethal effects

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany,Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture, Institute of Animal Science, Humboldt-University, Berlin, Germany 2: Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 3: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish, Juneau, Alaska, USA 4: National Research Council, Washington, DC, USA 5: Schwab & Sohn, Biglen, Switzerland 6: Department of Biology, Queen's University Biological Station, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada 7: School of Tropical Environment Studies and Geography, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia 8: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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