For Sharks, Even Catch and Release Can Kill

 Within minutes of his fishing line going taut, Bill Nast knows what type of shark is on the other end. If the line runs out fast and far, it’s a blacktip or spinner; if it goes slower and stays closer, with the animal playing tug of war, it’s a bull shark. If it’s a hammerhead or tiger shark, he’ll see a dark gray silhouette in the water.

But what happens after—once the fight ends, the hook is removed, and the fish is returned to the water—is less certain.

Biologists are learning that some species of sharks can become so strained by the tussle of being caught that even if they are released, they’ll still die from the stress. This research echoes similar results seen in some freshwater fish species.

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