Understanding the complexity of catch-and-release in recreational fishing: An integrative synthesis of global knowledge from historical, ethical, social and biological perspectives

Most research on catch-and-release (C&R) in recreational fishing has been conducted from a disciplinary angle focusing on the biological sciences and the study of hooking mortality after release. This hampers understanding of the complex and multifaceted nature of C&R. In the present synopsis, we develop an integrative perspective on C&R by drawing on historical, philosophical, socio-psychological, biological, and managerial insights and perspectives. Such a perspective is helpful for a variety of reasons, such as 1) improving the science supporting successful fisheries management and conservation, 2) facilitating dialogue between managers, anglers, and other stakeholders, 3) minimizing conflict potentials, and 4) paving the path toward sustainable recreational fisheries management. The present work highlights the array of cultural, institutional, psychological, and biological factors and dimensions involved in C&R. Progress toward successful treatment of C&R might be enhanced by acknowledging the complexity inherent in C&R recreational fishing.