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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All
I recently spoke to a fisherman, who's word I have no reason to doubt.
If handled,mackeral die apon release.
Why has this not been mentioned on the WSF before?Yes I have done a search on it on wsf and have got nothing
.Basically I am now feeling very foolish and guilty and want to point the finger of blame at someone else.:hypocrite.
Am I completely ignorant and this is common knowledge?
This is what I got with a basic google search......comments much appreciated.
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Home : Articles : Releasing Mackerel


Releasing Mackerel
Sep 20,2006 SACN





We often get enquiries 'Is it true that mackerel die if handled?'

So we asked the experts at CEFAS and this is what they said:

Hi Mike,

I wonder if you can answer this, or pass it onto someone who can?

Frequently the question of returning mackerel alive appears on the various angling internet forums.

There is a belief by many that once a mackerel has been touched by an anglers hands, even though the fish may swim away energetically, it is doomed.

Something to do with the heat/oil of the anglers hands (where it has been touched can often be seen as a handmark on the fish's skin).

Even though only microscopically damaged, the mackerel's skin continues to break down with death inevitable within 30 hours.

Shaking the fish off the hook or handling with wetted neoprene gloves is said to prevent the problem.

The problem is that when the mackerel shoals are on the beach, anglers will soon catch their self-imposed limit, but can't seem to stop fishing, often changing from feathers to a light spinning outfit and returning every fish they catch.

(If the above is correct, then they are better advised to cease fishing for mackerel and trying for the bass beyond/underneath the shoals perhaps, with less guarantee of catching).

Although this information is widely quoted, I can't find any authoritive reference to such information, although I vaguely mention talking to someone from CEFAS at the Recreational Angling Conference in Cardiff some years back, who confirmed that was the case.

It would be useful to quote an authoritive source to refer people (one way or the other) to when the subject comes up in the future.


Tight Lines - Leon Roskilly
Sea Anglers' Conservation Network (SACN)

SACN Latest: http://www.anglers-net.co.uk/sacn/latest

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Leon,

You are quite correct, and you've come to the right people!

In the late 1970s we carried out several experiments to try to find out why dead mackerel were being found in vast numbers in the SW, co-incident with the purse seine and trawl winter fishery.

The short answer is that the fish died due to skin damage interfering with their ability to maintain osmotic balance, and the skin damage was due to abrasion between crowded fish in the nets.

We found that mackerel caught on barbless hooks and never handled, just dropped into keep tanks or nets, survived quite well if allowed to swim freely, but holding a mackerel caused enough damage to eventually kill it, sometimes two days later.

I have a number of publications showing the results of all this work.

These are:

Lockwood, S. J., Pawson, M.G. and Mumford, B.C., 1977. "Effects of holding mackerel at different densities in nets of various sizes." M.A.F.F., Fish. Res. Tech. rep. No. 33, 10 pp


Pawson, M. G. and Lockwood, S. J., 1980. "Mortality of mackerel following physical stress, and its probable cause." I.C.E.S. rapp. proc. verb., 177: 439-443.


Holeton, G. F., M.G. Pawson & Shelton, G., 1982. "Gill ventilation, gas exchange and survival in the Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus L.)." Can. J. Zool, 60: 1141-1147.


Lockwood, S. J., M. G. Pawson and D. Eaton., 1983. "The effects of crowding on mackerel (Scomber scombrus L) - physical condition and mortality". Fisheries Research, 2: 129-147.


So, when anglers have caught enough mackerel for a fry or for bait, they should stop fishing for them unless they are using barbless hooks and can return the fish to the water without touching them.

Mike P.

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So it seems that mackerel, unlike any other species, are likely to die if their incredibly thin and specialised skin is touched by human hands (you can often see the marks of your hand on the skin of a mackerel when it is returned to water).

Catching only what you need is the best advice, but if you do hook a mackerel that you don't need then it's best to shake it off the hook without touching it (use of barbless hooks will help).

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G

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Hi All
I recently spoke to a fisherman, who's word I have no reason to doubt.
If handled,mackeral die apon release.
Why has this not been mentioned on the WSF before?
Has been mentioned loads of times before. There was a massive thread on it last year, and the year before, and the year before that.

Maybe it has been lost with the server moving around so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Flounder
my apologies,but as you say, I think said subject has been lost in the internet whirlpool.I tried to find it and failed.Personally,I now think it should be highlighted every June if only to alleviate my guilt!!:wacko::doh:


I'm going to get dogs abuse for this one no doubt!
SORRY FOR BEING SO IGNORANT FOLKS.
 

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I don't know anybody who has released mackeral. They're either kept for eating or bait. They do lose a lot of scales though when handled so this will probably kill them if released.
 
G

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Flounder
my apologies,but as you say, I think said subject has been lost in the internet whirlpool.I tried to find it and failed.Personally,I now think it should be highlighted every June if only to alleviate my guilt!!:wacko::doh:


I'm going to get dogs abuse for this one no doubt!
SORRY FOR BEING SO IGNORANT FOLKS.
Not at all Liz. I could have worded my reply better so that it didn't seem like i was having a go.

It is indeed a decent fact that new people to the sport need to know.
 

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good one liz i have heard the urban myth about mackies too but never saw anything on paper. well done you for clearing this up and hopefully people will tart to act responsably when fishing for mackie now. :fish:
 

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Team Hardcore (Scotland)
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any gloves work, neoprene, surgical, and even marigolds lol. but i think the neoprene looks better and gets a better grip of the fish then you dont have to hold on too hard
 
G

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any gloves work, neoprene, surgical, and even marigolds lol. but i think the neoprene looks better and gets a better grip of the fish then you dont have to hold on too hard
You shouldn't have to touch the mackerel if you want to release them.

Simply invert the hook and they fall off without ever being handled.
 

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Specimen Hunter
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I am glad this is brought up time and time again, there are lots of people that probabley come and go on this forum that would miss it if ir never came up, i think every time the sholes come to brittish waters every year this subject should posted, after all mackeral is tastey, great bait and a highly sought after food source for marine life

So more care should be made in looking after these stocks,

we do it with other species, why not mackeral?? :)
 

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The Podlie King
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Yep we all assume it's common knowlege but even common knowlege needs to be learned at some point by all of us.
I only occasionally catch mackeral when I don't need them (for example Slains Castle flattie mark) but you can as has been said shake them off the hook if you are close enough to the waters edge.
 

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Well I never knew that and I've been fishing for years, you learn something new every day.

I'd just like to add, last week at Burntisland, everyone was going home with a bag full but I seemed to be the only one bothering to gut/fillet there. I always try to do this as it a) puts back a large amount of biomass into the food chain and b) saves the missus complaining about the bin stinking.

Always seemed like a good plan to me, wish others would follow the lead, would also attract a lot more bait fish and we all know what that means :)
 

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I used to work for the Scottish Fishery Protection Agency and visited the fish laboratory in Aberdeen where they have big aquariums containing different species of fish including mackerel so they can study their behaviour.

The scientists there said that mackerel are the hardest to catch to study, due to the fact that they are the most stressed out fish when caught and are most likely to die, even when not handled.

They also can only swim in a clockwise direction when swimming in a round tank and if you tried to make them swim anti-clockwise, they would die due to stress.

Better just keeping what you need and then stop fishing.
 

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it is indeed a good point to bring out. i myself prefer fresh water river fishing with the fly but have started to find my way into the sea fishing bug, when i catch fish on the river 99 times out o 100 they are returned to the water but i always wet my hands regaurdless of size, as dry hands BURN the protective layer on the fishes skin therefor damageing or killing the fish through mishandeling. also try to do this where pos when sea fishing
 

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I used to work for the Scottish Fishery Protection Agency and visited the fish laboratory in Aberdeen where they have big aquariums containing different species of fish including mackerel so they can study their behaviour.

The scientists there said that mackerel are the hardest to catch to study, due to the fact that they are the most stressed out fish when caught and are most likely to die, even when not handled.

They also can only swim in a clockwise direction when swimming in a round tank and if you tried to make them swim anti-clockwise, they would die due to stress.

Better just keeping what you need and then stop fishing.
Quite agree as to stop fishing for them when you have satisfied your needs, but how big are the tanks you are talking about? I have a few times visited the aquarium in Plymouth, which is massive and have yet to see a mackerel in their tanks, the reason being is that I believe that this species never rest, they are always swimming at great speed, and life in a tank would certainly stress them. By which method do you try to make them swim in the opposite direction, and why?
 
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