Deep hooking in sailfish

Authors: Prince, E, Ortiz, M, Venizelos, A
Meeting: American Fisheries Society Symposium 30
Year: 2002

360 Pacific sailfish were caught off Guatemala. 75 Atlantic sailfish were caught off Florida. "J" hooks caused deep hooking in 46% of the fish.

The fish suffered in various ways.

Fish had hooks lodged in the:

  • gill arches
  • mouth
  • throat
  • palate
  • pharynx
  • oesophagus
  • stomach
There were several cases where eyes were hooked, causing blindness. This could affect the ability to survive by hunting other fish.

Further injuries included:

  • haemorrhaging in the eye
  • lacerations to the upper palate
  • damage to the brain cavity, which could then be open to infection
Anglers leaving seemingly lively sailfish, would not witness their later death.

HALF OF SAILFISH HAD HOOKS LODGED IN
MOUTH, THROAT, GILL ARCH, ESOPHAGUS, PHARYNX, STOMACH

"Forty-six percent of sailfish caught on "J" hooks had them lodged inside the mouth, throat, gill arch, esophagus, pharynx, or stomach."

"Hooks found in the upper palate, throat, pharynx, esophagus, or stomach, and fish showing lacerations or bleeding from these areas, were considered potentially lethal."
sailfish pain

HOOKING IN EYES

"Several instances were documented where "J" hooks were foul hooked in the eye. If eye injuries result in blindness, then this injury could potentially affect survival because Istiophorids are highly dependent on daytime sight feeding in the upper portions of the water column".

"Blindness in one eye would negatively impact peripheral vision and could seriously inhibit the ability of these species to feed. Numerous instances were also documented where "J" hook injuries that were not foul hooked could have caused eye damage. For example, in some cases. "J" hooks caused deep lacerations to the upper palate, which, on occasion, affected the occipital orbit and resulted in hemorrhaging in the eye."

FISH APPARENTLY WELL, DIE LATER

"These types of injuries can be deceptive and are particularly difficult to observe in fish at boat-side because, in most cases, the lack of tissue in the upper palate results in the hook dehooking from its initial location and rehooking in another area. Although these fish would appear lively alongside the boat, upper palate injuries could be potentially lethal, due to eye damage."

PENETRATION INTO BRAIN CAVITY

"Upper palate injuries can also affect the integrity of the cranial cavity by making this area susceptible to infection."
Fish Pain