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  1. #1
    Fish&Fly
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    Does catch-and-release angling alter the migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon?

    Does catch-and-release angling alter the migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon?

    Publication year: 2010
    Source: Fisheries Research, In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 3 September 2010
    Jenny L.A., Jensen , Elina, Halttunen , Eva B., Thorstad , Tor F., Nęsje , Audun H., Rikardsen

    Electronic tracking studies have recently focused on the potential negative effects of catch-and-release (C&R) angling in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). Common for these studies is that the fish were tagged between C&R, and the effects of C&R can thus not be separated from the extra handling effects associated with the tagging procedure. In addition, reference groups and information on the behaviour prior to C&R is not available. In this study, 95 homing multi-sea-winter Atlantic salmon were tagged with radio transmitters in the fjord before entering the River Alta, Northern Norway, and thereafter manually tracked until the spawning period. Ten of these salmon were caught and released by anglers in the river. All ten fish survived the angling event, and nine were observed in known spawning areas in the spawning period. No difference in migratory behaviour prior to or after C&R was observed between caught and released fish and the reference group. Individuals both among the C&R fish and the reference group showed downstream movements and migratory stops associated with C&R in previous studies. In spite of making studies logistically more challenging and expensive, the use of reference groups is important when assessing natural versus non-natural behaviour and to separate C&R effects from tagging effects.

    4th September 2010 04:47

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  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Very interesting and reassuring to know that C&R doesn't affect the natural behavior of salmon. As we know a number of salmon even gets caught twice or multiple times during one fishing season. One might assume they have a limited memory-span unlike sedentary fish like carp. Maybe the long-term memory of migratory fish is more occupied with changing habitats and homing factors? In that perspective it would be interesting to know if the gradual decline in feeding response during their stay in the river isn't partly due to that phenomenon. And then there is the fact that kelts start feeding again in freshwater. Could it be that fresh fish stop feeding because one reason is they don't recognize the food source anymore, get occasionally triggered and caught by an angler presenting them a more or less achieved imitation and need a significant transition time before they "learn" again to distinguish what's edible in their new environment? That would explain why they rise to leaves, feathers and pieces of wood, i personally have seen salmon taking algae drifting in the current. I'm far from an expert on this, i just like to explore new paths of thinking on this fascinating subject. Anyone agrees or disagrees...? Am i talking nonsense? Would really appreciate it if you let me know.

    Johan

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