Cor­rect catch care cru­cial for bill­fish

Pilbara News - - Pilbara | Sport - An­drew Row­land An­drew Row­land is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Rec­fish­west

As a new Broome bill­fish sea­son starts to warm up, an­glers are again re­minded to put catch care first.

Cor­rect fish han­dling is a vi­tal as­pect of suc­cess­ful catch-and re­lease fish­ing, which is com­mon for small bill­fish, and there has been a lot of con­jec­ture over the past 18 months about the wis­dom of lift­ing bill­fish from the wa­ter.

While an­glers like to have their photo taken with the sail­fish or mar­lin, if you want to give the fish the ab­so­lute best chance of sur­vival, then you should keep it in the wa­ter while this is done.

The lucky an­gler can lean over the side and hold the bill­fish by the beak for a photo.

It is log­i­cal any fish would be bet­ter in its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, with its body weight be­ing sup­ported by the wa­ter.

Most ex­pe­ri­enced bill­fish an­glers are al­ready well aware of cor­rect catch care, with many fished tagged for re­search and cir­cle hooks used to pre­vent them be­ing deep hooked.

Sev­eral lead­ing marine bi­ol­o­gists have ex­pressed con­cerns about lift­ing bil­lies from the wa­ter.

Stud­ies on other species have also iden­ti­fied an in­cre­men­tal de­crease in the chances of fish sur­viv­ing the longer they are kept out of the wa­ter.

Pic­ture: Rec­fish­west

Rec­fish­west chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Row­land with Broome Fish­ing Club’s Ben Lit­tle tag­ging a small sail­fish at Broome’s sail grounds.

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