Estimation of peacock bass (Cichla spp.) mortality rate during catch-release fishing employing different post-capture procedures
Abstract The effect of catch-and-release fishing on the survival of peacock bass (Cichla spp.) was evaluated by comparing two types of artificial bait (jig and shallow-diver plugs) and two types of post-catch confinement. Two experiments were conducted during the periods January-February and October-November 2012 in the Unini River, a right-bank tributary of the Negro River. In total, 191 peacock bass were captured. Both groups of fish were subjected to experimental confinement (collective and individual) for three days. Additionally, 11 fish were tagged with radio transmitters for telemetry monitoring. Mortality rate was estimated as the percentage of dead individuals for each type of bait and confinement. For peacock bass caught with jig baits, mortality was zero. The corresponding figure for shallow-diver bait was 1.66% for fish in collective containment, 18.18% for fish monitored by telemetry and 0% for individuals confined individually. Our results show low post-release mortality rates for peacock bass. Furthermore, neither the type of confinement nor the type of bait had a statistically significant influence on mortality rates. While future studies could include other factors in the analysis, our results show that catch-and-release fishing results in low mortality rates.