Effects of Hook and Bait on Targeted and Bycatch Fishes in an Equatorial Atlantic Pelagic Longline Fishery
We examined the effects of different hook style and bait type combinations on the catches of targeted, bycatch, and discarded fishes in equatorial atlantic waters. in total, 221 longline sets (>305,000 hooks) were deployed from portuguese pelagic longline vessels (sElEct-pal project) during the february-october fishing season. Three different hook styles and two bait types were tested: the traditional J-hook was compared to two circle hooks (one non-offset and one with 10° offset), and squid bait was compared to mackerel. catch per unit effort (cpuEs) were calculated and compared between the different hook style and bait type combinations, which indicated that the effects of hook style and bait on the cpuEs were species-specific. for example, swordfish cpuEs were higher with J-hooks baited with squid, while for targeted tunas and blue shark only the bait effect was significant, but with opposite effect (i.e., higher catches of tuna with squid bait and higher catches of blue shark with mackerel bait). for the discarded species, at-haulback mortality was also species-specific. proportions of alive vs dead specimens at time of fishing gear retrieval did not vary significantly by hook style or bait type combinations. The total retained catch was analyzed in value per unit effort (VpuE), and indicated losses in fishery revenue when mackerel was used instead of squid, but not when circle hooks were used instead of J-hooks.