Corrosion Rates and Compression Strength of White Sturgeon‐Sized Fishing Hooks Exposed to Simulated Stomach Conditions

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Field reports indicate that many White Sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus ingest hooks internally, but the length of time required for hooks to corrode, facilitating passage through their digestive system, is not well understood. Using a buffered acidic solution to simulate stomach conditions, a laboratory experiment was used to estimate the speed at which sturgeon-sized hooks (2.0-mm wire diameter) lost weight and compression strength and to evaluate whether loss of hook weight and compression strength was affected by hook abrasion, such as may occur when baited hooks are ground between hard food items in the gizzard of a sturgeon. After 399 d, hooks lost an estimated 34% of their weight and 70% of their compression strength. Abrading the hooks with stones before and throughout the study accelerated weight loss by 34% (after 399 d) compared with nonabraded hooks but did not accelerate the loss of compression strength. Abrasion increased the variability between hooks in weight loss but not in compression strength. Regardless of hook abrasion, the compression strength of some hooks was reduced essentially to 0 N within 1 year of constant exposure to stomach-like acidic conditions.