CORNWALL — Canada Research Chair in Fish Ecology & Conservation Physiology, Dr. Steven J. Cooke will be the special guest for the River Institute’s Science and Nature on Tour on Tuesday, August 29 at 7 p.m. at the South Stormont Municipal Building in Long Sault.
One of Canada’s foremost fish scientists, Dr. Cooke is the Director of the Institute of Environmental Science at Carleton University and as a biologist specializes in ecology and conservation physiology of fish. He is best known for researching physical responses in fish in response to natural and human impacts. He currently is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Science and Biology at Carleton University and the Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Conservation Physiology.
Recreational angling sees roughly 47 billion fish caught annually. 17 billion fish are harvested for the dinner table but the rest are released back into lakes, rivers, and streams – hopefully surviving to be caught another day. The St. Lawrence River hosts an active sports fishery. To preserve fish populations for future generations of anglers, an understanding of catch and release science is important. This is where Dr. Cooke and his team’s research come into play. These fish scientists have been able to attach heart monitors to largemouth bass.These studies allow them to measure the amount of stress a largemouth bass has during the fight time, time out of water, and how the fish recovers after release. Amazing to think that these devices are attached to fish. That is really the only way to get an accurate measurement of stress. In their studies they have found that fish that are easier to catch have higher heart rates than fish that don’t bite. Fish with higher heart rates also have a higher metabolic rate, which means they eat more. These fish also seem to better parents – protecting the nest better than fish with a lower heart rate.
Simple catch and release methods can make a difference to fish survival, like the use of barbless hooks.
Dr. Cooke says, “They are more effective – the time to get the hook out is a lot less, and it is easier to get out, allowing the fish to be returned quicker.”
He adds, “If you use a net, rubber is the way to go, it causes less damage to the fish and it is easier to release them from the net.”
Anglers won’t want to miss this free special session hosted by the St. Lawrence Institute of Environmental Sciences at the South Stormont Municipal Building (Council Chambers), 2 Milles Roches Rd. However, space is limited.
If you would like more information or to reserve a seat please call Karen Cooper at (613) 936-6620 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the River Institute website at www.riverinstitute.ca.