Circle hooks more humane choice for sharks, rays and sportfish
Just saw this Southern Fried Science post (nothing to do with chicken, everything to do with shark conservation) about the benefit of using circle hooks – a method I’m yet to try but definitely support.
Here’s their description of the hooks:
Circle hooks are used by recreational and commercial hook-and-line fisheries (and many longliners) to reduce hooking mortality in large fishes, sharks, and bycatch animals like sea turtles. The idea is that the hook more or less works by itself without being set like a J-hook. The shape of the hook prevents swallowing and encourages hooking in the corner of the mouth, where it’s less likely to do serious damage.
Some great shots in the post show how easy it is to remove circle hooks, up against the traditional hook technique. Many fisherman now cut off the barbs from their standard hooks – they may lose more fish but it helps cut down on damage, especially for sportfishing and the difficulty of returning undersize fish once they have been foul-hooked or swallow a barbed hook.