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New weigh-in system improves tournament fishing

For the past 20 years, Queen’s University professor and avid angler Bruce Tufts has been working to improve the live release process and create proper fish handling techniques for fishing tournaments. His new method, the Shimano Water Weigh-In System, was developed in his Queen’s lab and was recently used at the Canadian Open of Fishing held in Kingston.

Rachel Selwyn, Changhai Zhu and Clare Nelligan tag the fish and
take scale samples to age the fish during the Canadian Open of
Fishing in Kingston.

“I work in fish physiology and fish biology and have been working for years with recreational fishermen to help them with conservation issues,” says Dr. Tufts, an internationally recognized expert on catch and release techniques. “I had to teach anglers how to release fish alive and I also wanted to keep our fisheries sustainable.”

In 2001 Shimano invested in a research partnership with Dr. Tufts to create a new weigh-in system that would improve the lives of fish caught during tournaments. The result is the new system that keeps the fish in well oxygenated water throughout the entire weigh-in process and even weighs the fish while they are in the water. This new system has become the benchmark system in Ontario.

“I researched everything that could affect a fish during the weigh-in process,” says Dr. Tufts. “The old way was very hard on the fish. This new process has significantly reduced the number of fish that die at tournaments and it was very well received by anglers.”

During the Kingston tournament, Dr. Tufts’ students assisted with the weigh-in process in Confederation Basin.  Students from the Tufts’ lab also sampled and tagged all the fish that were caught in order to gain further biological information about bass populations in Lake Ontario.