Recreational Atlantic salmon Salmo salar fisheries are culturally and economically important, but confronted with global population declines, catch-and-release has frequently replaced harvest in these fisheries. Many studies have evaluated the effects of catch-and-release angling on Atlantic salmon; however, studies typically focused on a single system and had small sample sizes. Using data from Atlantic salmon catch-and-release studies conducted in 12 rivers throughout the pan-Holarctic range of wild Atlantic salmon, we modeled delayed mortality data using logistic regression. The model was based on 512 salmon (75 ± 15 cm TL) captured and released with electronic tags (i.e. radio or acoustic transmitters), which permitted the determination of fish fate after release (delayed mortality). The percentage of salmon categorized as survivors after release was high (93%). Salmon with longer body length tended to be played for longer durations (R2 = 0.60) but there was no significant effect of fish length or playing time on mortality. Water temperature at capture emerged as a significant predictor of delayed mortality of salmon. Individuals captured by flies had significantly higher survival (96%) compared to lure (86%) and natural bait (85%) caught salmon. Data from throughout the range of Atlantic salmon confirm that fish captured by anglers adhering to best practices have high probability of surviving catch-and-release angling.

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Keywords Catch-and-release, Data sharing, Delayed mortality, Logistic regression
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Journal Biological Conservation
Lennox, R.J. (Robert J.), Cooke, S.J, Davis, C.R. (Colin R.), Gargan, P. (Paddy), Hawkins, L.A. (Lorraine A.), Havn, T.B. (Torgeir B.), … Thorstad, E.B. (Eva B.). (2017). Pan-Holarctic assessment of post-release mortality of angled Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Biological Conservation, 209, 150–158. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2017.01.022