Hooking anglers for fishing study

WHAT’S THE CATCH: The study will attempt to increase survival rates of released fish. Photo: Contributed
WHAT’S THE CATCH: The study will attempt to increase survival rates of released fish. Photo: Contributed

THE New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is looking for anglers to participate in a new research project to reduce deep hooking among yellowfin bream, sand whiting, dusky flathead, tailor and snapper.

Led by DPI scientists Matt Broadhurst and Paul Butcher, the project aims to develop environmentally friendly recreational fishing gear and practices for NSW coastal areas.

"This research aims to use anglers to assess whether certain fishing practices and rigs, including non-offset circle and barbless hooks, can minimise deep hooking among some key inshore species," Dr Butcher said.

"Anatomical hook location is the main factor affecting released fish, with deep-hooked individuals having dramatically lower survival than those caught in the mouth.

"Preliminary research suggests that deep hooking and associated injury for some species can be reduced via simple modifications, which might include variations of existing fishing practices and hooks.

"Minimising deep hooking will increase the survival of fish that are subsequently released because of legal sizes, bag limits or voluntary catch and release angling."

As well as using their own gear, participating anglers will be given tackle (hooks, sinkers and line) and asked to complete data sheets for each fish they catch.

The study begins this month and will take place over a year, based out of Coffs Harbour.

Any anglers interested in contributing towards this research by completing data sheets should contact Dr Paul Butcher on 6648 3910 or email

Funding for the project has been provided by DPI and the NSW Recreational Fishing Saltwater Trust.

More information on improving survival of released fish is available at

Topics:  fishing outdoor-living

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