Circle hooks, designed to improve the survival rate of released fish, will be required in state and federal water beginning Thursday, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
The requirement applies to all marine species in the snapper-grouper complex, a grouping of bottom fish species defined by the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, according to a DNR news release. Species caught in state waters most affected by this new regulation include sheepshead, spadefish and black sea bass.
See the complete list of species in the snapper-grouper complex at www.safmc.net/Portals/6/Library/FMP/SnapGroup/SnapperGrouperSpecies.pdf.
Circle hooks have the point turned inward, back toward the shank to form a circle. They hook fish in the corner of the mouth, causing only superficial injury and rarely gut-hook a fish, which usually is fatal.