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Data from: Encountering a bait is necessary but insufficient to explain individual variability in vulnerability to angling in two freshwater benthivorous fish in the wild

Citation

Monk, Christopher Thomas; Arlinghaus, Robert (2018), Data from: Encountering a bait is necessary but insufficient to explain individual variability in vulnerability to angling in two freshwater benthivorous fish in the wild, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4pr3r

Abstract

Fish personality traits, such as swimming activity, or personality related emergent behavioural properties, such as space use, should affect encounter rates between fish and fishing gear. Increased encounters should in turn drive vulnerability to capture by passively operated fishing gears. However, empirical evidence documenting a relationship between activity-based behaviours and vulnerability to capture in the wild is limited. Using whole-lake acoustic telemetry, we first documented significant repeatabilities over several months of a suite of encounter rate-associated behaviours (swimming distance, activity space size, time on baited feeding sites, switching frequency among baited feeding sites, distance to the lake bottom) in two recreationally important benthivorous cyprinid species, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and tench (Tinca tinca). We then experimentally targeted both species using standard angling gear on baited feeding sites. Individual fish regularly visited the angling sites, documenting that the fishes encountered the angling baits. Carp were readily hooked within the first few days, after which catchability dropped to low levels characteristic of tench from the onset of the angling experiment. When attempting to explain individual variation in vulnerability, we failed to document significant relationships among a suite of repeatable encounter-based behaviours and vulnerability to angling for both species. There was also no evidence for size selection or for energetically less conditioned carp to be more vulnerable than their counterparts. The data cumulatively suggest that fine-scale behaviours after encountering a bait (e.g., frequency of bait intake, or degree of spitting baited hooks following ingestion) are ultimately decisive for determining vulnerability to angling in both species. We therefore conclude that encountering a stationary bait in angling for benthivorous cyprinids is a necessary, but insufficient condition for determining the likelihood of capture of an individual fish. Hence, fishing-induced selection on encounter-based behaviours in recreational angling for benthivorous fish in the wild appears unlikely.

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