The blood chemical status of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua following capture by jig and demersal longline with differential hook removal methods


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Common haematological [haematocrit (Hct)], primary (serum cortisol) and secondary (serum glucose and plasma lactate) analytes were utilized to compare blood biochemical status of Gadus morhua captured rapidly by jig with that of G. morhua captured by commercial demersal longline. In general, the physiological status of G. morhua, despite blind hook times, was significantly more disrupted (pronounced haemo-concentration and significantly elevated concentrations of cortisol, glucose and lactate) following longline capture relative to capture by jig, while no differences were detected among longline-caught fish as a function of dehooking method (or concomitant extent of overt physical trauma). Blood profiles from the more stressed G. morhua, a possible function of more extended longline hook times, were similar to the most stressed values reported for this species. The results also demonstrate that, although acute blood biochemical status is an effective gauge of relative stress, it does not reflect physical injury status, which has been shown to exert a strong influence on delayed mortality in previous studies in this species. Thus, acute blood chemical status alone may not be the most complete predictor of mortality. Future studies should evaluate physiological repercussions from capture–handling against physical trauma during more extended post-release periods for this species.