Testing of traditional Makah halibut hooks

Published: 13-02-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/g8b298crnp.1
Jonathan Scordino


The attached data is from two experiments conducted to test the use of the traditional halibut hook of the Makah Tribe, called a čibu·d, for use in recreational halibut fisheries. The first study was conducted over two phases completed in 2017 (phase 1) and 2018 (phase 2) with the objective of determining if we could improve the fishing performance of the čibu·d tested by Scordino et al. (2017). Scordino et al. (2017) found that čibu·d significantly reduced bycatch during recreational halibut fisheries as compared to paired 8/0 circle hooks that are commonly used in today's recreational halibut fisheries. The study also found that the čibu·d reduced the catch of halibut relative to the paired 8/0 circle hooks. However, the bycatch ratio (halibut caught per bycatch) was much better for the čibu·d than the paired 8/0 circle hooks showing that the use of the čibu·d could be an effective tool to reduce bycatch n recreational fisheries. In phase 1 of our study we compared the fishing performance of čibu·d manufactured from four different materials (wood, plastic, brass, and stainless steel) to determine if the buoyancy of čibu·d material affected its fishing performance. The čibu·d manufactured for phase 1 of the study utilized measurements from Scordino et al. (2017) of the best performing handmade brass čibu·d used in that study. We found no statistical difference in the performance of plastic, brass, and stainless steel čibu·d for catching halibut. In phase 2 of our study, we selected the brass čibu·d to compare to two commonly fished hook arrangements in present day recreational halibut fisheries, paired 8/0 circle hooks and a single 16/0 circle hook, to have continuity with our previously published research (Scordino et al. 2017). Using recreational fishermen to collect data, we found no significant difference in halibut catch rates between brass čibu·d, paired 8/0 circle hooks, and the single 16/0 circle hook. We found that brass čibu·d had significantly lower bycatch per set and byatch ratio (halibut:bycatch) than the other two hook set ups. We also found that the 16/0 circle hook had significantly less bycatch than the paired 8/0 hooks. The other study represented in this data set was a study to determine the optimum bait to fish on čibu·d. The ethnographic record mentions many different types of bait used but mentions devilfish (octopus) most frequently. Although many types of bait are listed, there are no mentions of using herring. Our previously published study (Scordino et al. 2017) and the study described above used herring for bait. This study evaluated if catch performance was different when čibu·d were fished with octopus, squid, herring, and rockfish fillets. We fished the four bait types concurrently and reeled up as soon as a fish bit one (sometimes more) of the hooks and recorded the catch. We found not statistical difference in catch performance by bait type.