Fisheries Research, 196:117-125, Elsevier B.V., 12, 2017. Paper abstract bibtex
We investigated the effects of hook soak time on targeted reef species and shark bycatch in the reef fish bottom longline fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. Beginning in 2010, capture time and catch per unit effort (CPUE) for the primary target species red grouper (Epinephelus morio) in the fishery were evaluated using hook timers. Findings indicated that typical duration of hook soak times is longer than necessary to efficiently harvest red grouper and a reduction in gear soak times to less than one hour would result in minimal or no reduction in red grouper CPUE. The mean capture time of sharks and red grouper differed significantly, suggesting that a reduction in soak time would likely reduce the bycatch of sharks in the fishery. The study also revealed barometric pressure, lunar phase, and fish size were significant covariates with red grouper capture times and that different bait types significantly affected CPUE. Implementing shorter hook soak times would likely improve fishery profitability and potentially reduce discards of unwanted species in the fishery.