Those following the Amendment 7 process for striped bass management are well aware that post-release mortality has been a polarizing topic for stakeholders in all sectors. With the coastal striped bass fishery being primarily catch-and-release, the survival of released fish and the impact of various types of angling gear on that survival rate has serious implications for the fishery’s long-term health.
The current post-release mortality estimate is 9% – and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has begun a multi-year study to provide more insight into how striped bass fare after release.
In a recent episode of The Guide Post Podcast, host Willy Goldsmith of the American Saltwater Guides Association was joined by Ben Gahagan and Bill Hoffman from Mass DMF to learn more about the history of the currently used estimate, how their team is working to provide new insight on the topic and what they’ve seen so far in their multi-year study.
“The original post-release mortality rate estimates, they were done by the State of Massachusetts […and] came up with the currently used mortality rate of 9%. […] Based on the current hardware we now use for our studies, we decided we could apply it and potentially maybe make an improvement on that estimate,” Gahagan stated at the start of the episode.
“If we can make an improvement to [the accuracy of post-release mortality estimates, we could be saving hundreds of thousands, even coastwide, millions of bass.”
To learn more about what a day of “scientific fishing” looks like and what trends the DMF team is seeing so far, listen to the full podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.