Due to the depleted nature of many of the stocks sea anglers are interested in catching, it makes sense to do everything in our power, unless keeping a fish for the table, to return it with the minimum of handling and as fast as possible.
As part of their ‘Give Fish A Chance’ programme, the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN) have introduced on-line calculators to enable anglers to weigh a fish by measuring its length. In many cases this will enable fish to be measured and released whilst still in the water, or at least returned with the minimum delay after being photographed.
There are ‘calculators ‘ for some of the key whitefish – CLICK HERE – and for several shark species – CLICK HERE; they are based on models derived from 1000’s of observations made by a variety of bodies over the past three decades or so; both tables will be added to as more data is gathered.
Though there is no doubt that fish can have different weights for the same length dependent on several factors – whether they are sick or healthy, gravid, post spawning, have good access to food-stocks etc., weight estimation based on a fish’s length offers a credible alternative to the spring balances typically in use by anglers, as any in-accuracies will be the same for everyone.
This latter fact is now being used successfully by several sea angling clubs when fishing ‘catch and release’ matches but wanting to award prizes for such as ‘heaviest fish’ without requiring the fish to be killed – as in a recent match run by Loch Ryan SAC, when the calculated weight was used for a smoothhound.
To further refine the models and help determine trends, SSACN are requesting anyone with any historic accurate records of length/weight for any species to please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org .