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Keywords:

  • By-catch;
  • catch and release;
  • climate change;
  • discards;
  • fishing;
  • temperature

Abstract

We searched major electronic databases to identify peer-reviewed literature investigating the role of temperature on the stress response and mortality of captured and released fish. We identified 83 studies that fit these criteria, the majority of which were conducted in North America (81%) on freshwater fish (76%) in the orders Perciformes (52%) and Salmoniformes (28%). We found that hook-and-line fisheries (65% of all studies) were more commonly studied than all net fisheries combined (24%). Despite the wide recognition for many species that high water temperatures exacerbate the effects of capture on released fish, this review is the first to quantitatively investigate this problem, finding that warming contributed to both mortality and indices of stress in 70% of articles that measured each of those endpoints. However, more than half (58%) of the articles failed to place the experimental temperatures into a biological context, therefore limiting their broad applicability to management. Integration of survival and sublethal effects to investigate mechanisms of fish mortality was relatively rare (28%). Collectively, the results suggest that capture–release mortality increases at temperatures within, rather than above, species-specific thermal preferenda. We illustrate how knowledge of ecologically relevant high temperatures in the capture and release of fish can be incorporated into management, which will become increasingly important as climate change exerts additional pressure on fish and fisheries.