Stress has profound effects on the survival, fitness, and health of fish species. Understanding fishery-related stress is key for managing species.
In recent years, there is a growing attention on the lethal and sublethal effects that fighting a fishing line can have on sharks. Stress can come in many forms including both acute (short) and chronic (long-term) impacts that can affect survival and an animal’s ability to reproduce. While fighting a fishing line can be stressful, research is showing that species have different ways of reacting to stress as well as recovering from fighting after release. This is particularly important in release fisheries, where losses due to mortality (from bycatch or catch and release) have the potential to make fishing practices unsustainable. We are currently interested in examining the acute and chronic effects of fishing and release on many species of coastal sharks in the subtropical Atlantic, and seek to do so by using a variety of traditional physiological (blood chemistry and acid-base equilibrium) and novel telemetry approaches (satellite tagging and acoustic monitoring).
Some of the primary objectives of this work include:
- Ranking the sensitivities of species to various aspects of fishery-related stressors via a combination of behavioral, physiological, and ecological approaches
- Determining how reflexes can be used to score stress in species after fighting a fishing line
- Model rates of shark survival in pelagic fisheries
- Determine the long-term species and community-wide impacts of stress and determining how these may intersect across ecosystems with varying predation risk
• A.J. Gallagher