Circle Hook Performance in the Uruguayan Pelagic Longline Fishery
Circle hooks have been promoted as an alternative to traditional J-hooks in pelagic longline fisheries to minimize bycatch mortality and injury to sea turtles and other marine wildlife. We evaluated the effect of hook type (circle hook vs J-hook) on the catch and length composition of target and non-target species in the Uruguayan pelagic longline fishery, for both American- and Spanish-style longlines. The sample unit used for comparing catches was two consecutive sections of the longline, each with a different hook type. For the American-style longline 39,822 hooks were deployed in 108 paired sections, and for the Spanish-style 45,142 hooks were deployed in 238 paired sections. The catch of albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga (Bonnaterre, 1788), was higher with circle hooks with both gears. The catch of shortfin mako shark, Isurus oxyrinchus (Rafinesque, 1810), also increased with the use of circle hooks, but only with the American-style longline. A decrease was observed in the catch of pelagic stingray, Pteroplatytrygon violacea (Bonaparte, 1832), with both gears, though it was significant only with the Spanish-style longline. The performance of circle hooks for other target species, such as swordfish, Xiphias gladius (Linnaeus, 1758), and sharks, and for bycatch species including sea turtles and seabirds remains unclear and requires further research.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2012
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