Sink or swim? Factors affecting immediate discard mortality for the gulf of Mexico commercial reef fish fishery. Pulver, J., R. Fisheries Research, 188:166-172, Elsevier B.V., 4, 2017.
Sink or swim? Factors affecting immediate discard mortality for the gulf of Mexico commercial reef fish fishery [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
Fishery observer data collected from June 2006 through December 2015 in the Gulf of Mexico commercial reef fish fishery were examined to determine if any covariates available affected immediate discard mortality for six species: red grouper Epinephelus morio, red snapper Lutjanus campechanus, vermilion snapper Rhomboplites aurorubens, gag grouper Mycteroperca microlepis, scamp grouper Mycteroperca phenax, and speckled hind Epinephelus drummondhayi. Using logistic regression models, this study predicted immediate discard mortality was positively correlated with increased depths, seasons associated with warmer water temperatures, and external evidence of barotrauma. Additionally, bottom longline gear increased the predicted probability of immediate mortality compared to vertical line gear for all species except vermilion snapper. Air bladder venting significantly decreased the predicted probability of immediate mortality for all species except speckled hind. Future research incorporating tag-recapture data into the current observer program for the commercial reef fish fishery is vital to assess if condition assessment at release can be relied on as an accurate proxy for long-term survival. This research provides information that managers could potentially use to make more informed decisions when implementing measures such as changes to existing size limits, venting requirements, and seasonal, area, or gear restrictions intended to reduce unwanted discard mortality.

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