Friday, May 11, 2007

NMFS Delays Circle Hook Rule Until 2008

The National Marine Fisheries announced this week that the planned 2007 circle-hook requirement for all U.S. tournament-participating big-game anglers using dead bait has been put off until 2008. The ruling was handed down just as the 2007 big-game tournament season was getting underway. Circle hooks in dead baits have been shown to decrease the mortality of released fish as the hook is designed to catch in the corner of the fish's mouth. More traditional J-hooks have higher incidents of gut hooking and death after release. The delay in implementation came after many anglers wanted to know what effect the rule would have on lure-bait combinations rigs and larger blue-marlin-type hook baits. Whether these questions are answered by 2008 or not, the rule will go into full effect in January.

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