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Why Catch and Release?


By adopting just a few simple habits, recreational anglers can greatly increase the chances that the fish they catch and release will survive. Effective handling of fishes during catch and release helps anglers to conserve marine fisheries and to feel confident that the fish they release will survive to be caught another day!

Explore the pages at this site to learn more about successful catch-and-release fishing. Share the many valuable print and video resources with your fishing friends.

Barotrauma: How to help Reef Fish Survive Catch and Release

Barotrauma Video Series


Reef fish in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, like snapper and grouper, suffer from barotrauma when brought to the surface, and many die. But these fish can survive when released at depth using fish descenders. See how easy they are to use.



New! Catch & Release: Ways You Can Help Saltwater Fish Survive!

Releasing a fish safely with minimal harm is key to helping it survive. This latest edition of the popular catch-and-release brochure, a joint publication of Florida Sea Grant and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, includes an all-new section on descending tools, venting, and other deep-water release techniques for reef fish. Download new brochure

What are Fish Descending Devices?

Providing anglers with a variety of options that are best suited to local fishing conditions and practices may be the best solution for improving survival of deep-water released fish. Fish descending devices can be an effective practice to increase survival as they result in less injury to the fish.

Venting and descending fish are both viable ways to increase survival of reef fish that experience barotrauma. Compare these strategies to find one that works for you: barotrauma brochure.

For more information, check out
NOAA Fisheries recommendations for best practices
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Evaluating Fish Descending Tools

Recent closures of Gulf reef fisheries have focused attention on the importance of successful release of fish caught from deep water. These fish are susceptible to barotrauma -- bloating and internal organ damage caused by rapid pressure change when they are caught. If mortality can be reduced, the severity of fishing restrictions could be lessened.

Florida Sea Grant agents with UF/IFAS Extension have played a leadership role in providing information on successful deep-water release practices by field-testing new descending devices and practices with fishing guides and anglers in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic waters. These may help fishermen improve the survival of deep-water fish they release.

Enjoy this dramatic video from research trials that Florida Sea Grant has conducted in the Gulf of Mexico to show what happens, from an underwater point of view, when fish are rapidly descended.

Grouper Descended with a Modified Crate