Effects of Capture and Release

The Fraser River is home to all 5 salmon species and hundreds of geographically and genetically unique populations of salmon, many of which migrate through marine areas and upstream through the river towards spawning areas at the same time of year. Commercial, First Nations, or recreational fisheries will target a specific species for harvest but are typically required to release the other non-target species. Our lab has done work to understand the effects of capture-and-release in various fisheries on physiological recovery, behaviour, and subsequent migration success – in multiple species and populations of salmon. The most common technique we’ve employed is biotelemetry – implanting radio or acoustic transmitters to track migration behaviour and success of individual fish after release. In field and laboratory experiments, we have used heart-rate biologgers and blood hormones and developed simple animal reflex indicators to examine how quickly salmon can recover from being captured. Our lab is also using new genomic techniques to understand how capture-and-release can affect pathogen development and disease in migrating salmon. Beyond simply documenting the impacts, we use these techniques to understand what handling practices are best for fish, and to test whether specially-designed recovery bags or boxes can be used to facilitate recovery and improve survival. This research has generated information that can be used for informing management of capture-and-release fisheries, both by providing accurate mortality estimates to fisheries managers and by giving fishers ways to minimize handling stress and mortality for the fish they release. 

Selected Publications

McLean, M.F., Litvak, M.K., Stoddard, E.M., Cooke, S.J., Patterson, D.A., Hinch, S.G., Welch, D.W., Crossin, G.T. (2020) Linking environmental factors with reflex action mortality predictors, physiological stress, and acoustic telemetry to evaluate the response of white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus to catch and release angling. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 240:110618.

McLean, M.F., Litvak, M.K., Cooke, S.J., Hanson, K.C., Patterson, D.A., Hinch, S.G., Crossin, G.T. (2019) Immediate physiological and behavioural response from catch-and-release of wild white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus Richardson, 1836). Fisheries Research 214:65-75.

Cook, K.V., Hinch, S.G., Drenner, S.M., Raby, G.D., Patterson, D.A., Cooke, S.J. 2019. Dermal injuries caused by purse seine capture result in lasting physiological disturbances in coho salmon. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology 227: 75-83.

Cook, K.V., Reid, A.J., Patterson, D.A., Robinson, K.A., Chapman, J.M., Hinch, S.G., Cooke, S.J. 2019. A synthesis to understand responses to capture stressors among fish discarded from commercial fisheries and options for mitigating their severity. Fish and Fisheries 20(1): 25-43.

Teffer, A.K., Bass, A.L., Miller, K.S., Patterson, D.A., Juanes, F., S.G. Hinch. 2018. Infections, fisheries capture, temperature and host responses: multi-stressor influences on survival and behavior of adult Chinook salmon. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 75(11): 2069-2083.

Cook, K.V., Hinch, S.G., Drenner, S.M., Halfyard, E.A., Raby, G.D., Cooke, S.J. 2018. Population-specific mortality in coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) released from a purse seine fishery. ICES Journal of Marine Science 75(1): 309-318.

Cook, K.V., Hinch, S.G., Watson, M.S., Patterson, D.A., Reid, A.J., Cooke, S.J. 2018. Experimental capture and handling of chum salmon reveal thresholds in injury, impairment, and physiology: Best practices to improve bycatch survival in a purse seine fishery. Fisheries Research 206: 96-108.

Bass, A.R., Hinch, S.G., Casselman, M.T., Bett, N.N., Burnett, N.J., Middleton, C.T., Patterson, D.A. 2018. Visible Gill‐Net Injuries Predict Migration and Spawning Failure in Adult Sockeye Salmon. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 147:1085–1099.

Bass, A.L., Hinch, S.G., Patterson, D.A., Cooke, S.J., Farrell, A.P. 2018. Location-specific consequences of beach seine and gillnet capture on upriver-migrating sockeye salmon migration behavior and fate. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 75(11): 2011-2023.

Teffer, A.K., Hinch, S.G., Miller, K.S., Patterson, D.A., Farrell, A.P., Cooke, S.J., Bass, A.L., Szekeres, P., Juanes, F. 2017. Capture severity, infectious disease processes, and sex influence post-release mortality of sockeye salmon bycatch. Conservation Physiology 5:10.1093/conphys/cox017.

McLean M.F., Hanson K.C., Cooke, S.J., Hinch, S.G., Patterson, D., Nettles, T., Litvak, M., and Crossin, G.T. 2016. Physiological stress response, reflex impairment, and delayed mortality of white sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus exposed to simulated fisheries stressors. Conservation Physiology. 4(1):cow031 DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow031.

Robinson, K.A., Hinch, S.G., Raby, G.D., Donaldson, M.R., Robichaud, D., Patterson, D.A., Cooke, S.J. (2015) Influence of post-capture ventilation assistance on migration success of adult sockeye salmon following capture and release. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 144:693-704.

Raby, G.D., Wilson, S.M., Patterson, D.A., Hinch, S.G., Clark, T.D., Farrell, A.P., Cooke, S.J. (2015) A physiological comparison of three techniques for reviving sockeye salmon exposed to a severe capture stressor during upriver migration. Conservation Physiology 3:doi:10.1093/conphys/cov015. PDF

Raby, G.D., Hinch, S.G., Patterson, D.A., Hills, J.A., Thompson, L.A., Cooke, S.J. (2015) Mechanisms to explain purse seine bycatch mortality of coho salmon. Ecological Applications 25(7):1757-1775.

Raby, G.D., Donaldson, M.R., Hinch, S.G., Clark, T.D., Eliason, E.J., Jeffries, K.M., Cook, K.V., Teffer, A., Bass, A.L., Miller, K.M., Patterson, D.A., Farrell, A.P., Cooke, S.J. (2015) Fishing for effective conservation: context and biotic variation are keys to understanding the survival of Pacific salmon after catch-and-release.  Integrative and Comparative Biology 55(4):554-576.

Raby, G.D., Clark, T.D., Farrell, A.P., Patterson, D.A., Bett, N.N., Wilson, S.M., Willmore, W.G., Suski, C.D., Hinch, S.G., Cooke, S.J. (2015) Facing the river gauntlet: understanding the effects of fisheries capture and water temperature on the physiology of coho salmon. PLoS One 10(4):e0124023. PDF

Cook, K.V., Lennox, R.J., Hinch, S.G., Cooke, S.J. 2015. Fish out of water: How much air is too much for released fish? Fisheries 40(9):452-461.

Wilson, S.M., Raby, G.D., Burnett, N.J., Hinch, S.G., Cooke, S.J. 2014. Looking beyond the mortality of bycatch: sublethal effects of incidental capture on marine animals. Biological Conservation 171: 61-72.

Raby, G.D., Donaldson, M.R., Nguyen, V.M., Taylor, M.K., Sopinka, N.M., Cook, K.V., Patterson, D.A., Robichaud, D., Hinch, S.G., Cooke, S.J. (2014) Bycatch mortality of endangered coho salmon: impacts, solutions and aboriginal perspectives. Ecological Applications 24(7): 1803-1819.

Robinson, K.A., Hinch, S.G., Gale, M.K., Clark, T.D., Wilson, S.M., Donaldson, M.R., Farrell, A.P., Cooke, S.J., Patterson, D.A. (2013). Effects of post-capture ventilation assistance and elevated water temperature on sockeye salmon in a simulated capture-and-release experiment. Conservation Physiology 10.1093/conphys/cot015.

Donaldson, M.R., Raby, G.D., Nguyen, V.N., Hinch, S.G., Patterson, D.A., Farrell, A.P., Rudd, M., Thompson, L.A., O’Connor, C.M., Colotelo, A.H., McConnachie, S.H., Cook, K.V., Robichaud, D., English, K.K., Cooke, S.J. (2013). Evaluation of a simple technique for recovering Pacific salmon from capture stress: integrating comparative physiology, biotelemetry, and social science to solve a conservation problem. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 70: 90-100.

Gale, M.K., Hinch, S.G., Donaldson, M.R. (2013) The role of temperature in the capture and release of fish. Fish and Fisheries 14: 1-33.

Gale, M.K., Hinch, S.G., Eliason, E.J., Cooke, S.J., Patterson, D.A. (2011) Physiological impairment of adult sockeye salmon in fresh water after simulated capture-and-release across a range of temperatures. Fisheries Research 112: 85-95.

Donaldson, M.R., Clark, T.D., Hinch, S.G., Cooke, S.J., Patterson, D.A., Gale, M.K., Frappell, P.B., Farrell, A.P. (2010) Physiological responses of free-swimming adult coho salmon to simulated predator and fisheries encounters. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 83: 973-983.

For other publications, please see our Publications page.