Behavioural responses to fisheries capture among sharks caught using experimental fishery gear

Austin J. Gallagher, Erica R. Staaterman, Steven J. Cooke, Neil Hammerschlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The response to capture is important in fisheries because it can reveal potential threats to species beyond fishing mortalities resulting from direct harvest. To date, the vast majority of studies assessing shark stress responses have used physiology or biotelemetry to look at sensitivity after capture, leaving a gap in our understanding of the behaviours of sharks during capture. We examined the behavioural responses of sharks to capture by attaching accelerometers to fishing gear and measuring the immediate and prolonged forces they exerted while on the line. We recorded acceleration vectors and derived the rate of intense fighting behaviours of 23 individual sharks comprising three species. Results suggest that blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) exhibited intense bouts of fighting behaviour at the onset of hooking, while nurse (Ginglymostoma cirratum) and tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) displayed more subdued acceleration values during capture. We also obtained plasma lactate from a subset of individuals and detected a strong correlation with maximum acceleration. These results align with previously published values and suggest that shark movement during fisheries capture is an important factor during bycatch and catchand- release interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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