Capture and handling stress studies are considered a primary research priority, particularly for species and ﬁsheries where discard rates are high, and/or for overﬁshed stocks and species of concern. Lophius americanus, a commercially valuable ﬁnﬁsh in New England, constitutes the second highest bycatch species within the sea scallop dredge ﬁshery. Despite its commercial importance, no data exists on the capture and handling stress of monkﬁsh for any gear type. Given these shortcomings, our goals were to evaluate the stress response of monkﬁsh captured in scallop dredge gear by evaluating physical, behavioural and physiological responses to scallop ﬁshing practices. While 80% of monkﬁsh displayed little to no physical trauma, behavioural and physiological assessment indicated high levels of stress, especially as air exposure and tow duration increased. This ﬁnding suggests that the manifestation of stress in monkﬁsh may be a cryptic response necessitating further research in addition to estimates of post-release mortality rates to appropriately advise ﬁsheries management regarding the mortality of monkﬁsh bycatch in the sea scallop ﬁshery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecological Modeling
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law