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Study finds circle hooks lower catch rate for offshore anglers

species. The answer is no.

The researchers looked at the relative effectiveness of circle and J hooks for three popular sporting fish: dolphinfish (often called mahi mahi in the Pacific), yellowfin tuna and wahoo. "Circle hooks were roughly 60 to 70 percent as effective at catching these three species as J hooks," Rudershausen says.

The researchers found that the fish would still strike at the bait, but that the hook was significantly less likely to set in the mouth of the fish. However, when the hook did set, anglers were just as likely to be able to get the fish to the boat.

"The charter ocean fishing industry is economically significant in North Carolina," Rudershausen says, "receiving approximately $65 million in for-hire fees in 2009. The concern is that circle hooks would drive down catch rates which could result in fewer clientele for North Carolina's offshore charter fishing industry."

The researchers hope to work with economists to better capture the potential economic impact of any expansion of circle hook regulations.

Contact: Matt Shipman
North Carolina State University

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