Effects of lunar cycle and fishing operations on longline-caught pelagic fish: fishing performance, capture time, and survival of fish

Poisson, Francois and Gaertner, Jean-Claude and Taquet, Marc and Durbec, Jean-Pierre and Bigelow, Keith (2010) Effects of lunar cycle and fishing operations on longline-caught pelagic fish: fishing performance, capture time, and survival of fish. Fishery Bulletin, 108(3), pp. 268-281.

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Abstract

Commercial longline fishing data were analyzed and experiments were conducted with gear equipped with hook timers and timedepth recorders in the Réunion Island fishery (21°5ʹS lat., 53°28ʹE long.) to elucidate direct and indirect effects of the lunar cycle and other operational factors that affect catch rates, catch composition, fish behavior, capture time, and fish survival. Logbook data from 1998 through 2000, comprising 2009 sets, indicated that swordfish (Xiphias gladius) catch-per unit of effort (CPUE) increased during the first and last quarter of the lunar phase, whereas albacore (Thunnus alalunga) CPUE was highest during the full moon. Swordfish were caught rapidly after the longline was set and, like bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), they were caught during days characterized by a weak lunar illumination—mainly during low tide. We found a significant but very low influence of chemical lightsticks on CPUE and catch composition. At the time the longline was retrieved, six of the 11 species in the study had >40% survival. Hook timers indicated that only 8.4% of the swordfish were alive after 8 hours of capture, and two shark species (blue shark [Prionace glauca] and oceanic whitetip shark [Carcharhinus longimanus]) showed a greater resilience to capture: 29.3% and 23.5% were alive after 8 hours, respectively. Our results have implications for current fishing practices and we comment on the possibilities of modifying fishing strategies in order to reduce operational costs, bycatch, loss of target fish at sea, and detrimental impacts on the environment.

Item Type: Article
Title: Effects of lunar cycle and fishing operations on longline-caught pelagic fish: fishing performance, capture time, and survival of fish
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Poisson, Francois
Gaertner, Jean-Claude
Taquet, Marc
Durbec, Jean-Pierre
Bigelow, Keith
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 108
Number: 3
Page Range: pp. 268-281
Date: 2010
ISSN: 0090-0656
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Ecology
Fisheries
Item ID: 8745
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2012 18:28
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 18:28
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/8745

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