Catch and release fishing isn’t as harmless as many people think. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and the University of Antwerp found that removing the hook from a fish’s mouth after it’s been caught can limit their ability to catch food. Published in the Journal of Experimental Biology on Tuesday, the study showed that fish that use suction feeding can’t suck their food in properly and experience a 35 percent reduction in feeding ability.
“What we wanted to do was try to figure out what the impact on the fish might be when it is caught using a hook and released,” Timothy Higham, a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, and author on the paper, told Newsweek. “I’ve done a lot of research looking at how fish feed and multiple authors on the paper are avid anglers, so it was a natural experiment and surprisingly had never been done.”
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