Electrogenic metals for elasmobranch bycatch mitigation

Smith KT (2013) Electrogenic metals for elasmobranch bycatch mitigation. Thesis, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY

Commercial longline fishing results in large amounts of incidental bycatch of elasmobranch fishes (sharks, skates, and rays). Teleost species lack electrosensory systems and development of technologies which target the ampullary organs of sharks provides an avenue to selectively deter elasmobranchs without affecting the catch rate of target teleosts. Electric field measurements and a controlled scientific longline study were conducted testing whether the lanthanide metal neodymium or zinc/graphite might reduce elasmobranch catch per unit effort (CPUE). Baited longline hooks were treated with neodymium and zinc/graphite and catch rates were compared to that of controls. Shark CPUE decreased by 60% on neodymium treated hooks and 80% on zinc/graphite treated hooks. The effectiveness of both treatments varied among species with significant reductions shown for Atlantic sharpnose sharks (Rhizoprionodon terranovae ) but less dramatic differences for others. Zinc/graphite is potentially a viable tool for reduction of shark bycatch in a commercial longline fishery.