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The following schedule is subject to change (as of October 11, 2016). Please check back for updates. For more information about this meeting, go to: www.seafwa.org/conferences/2016
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Tuesday, October 18 • 10:20am - 10:40am
Fisheries. Evaluation of the 14 Inch Minimum Length Limit for Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) in the Atchafalaya Basin and Surrounding Waters, Louisiana

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AUTHORS: Brac Salyers, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

ABSTRACT: Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding waters suffered massive fish kills, with estimates upwards of 200 million fish. Efforts to offset the damage to the fishery included fish stockings and a protective length limit that restricted harvest of largemouth bass (LMB) under 14” in total length (TL). The regulation was implemented in 1993 for LMB within these waters. Justification for the 14” MLL was that bass would be protected and allowed to spawn at least once before being subjected to angler harvest. The resulting spawns would replenish the local fishery. In the absence of large predators, the bass population responded with a tremendous resurgence in a short period of time. Instead of recognizing the resilience of the native bass population, many anglers credited the 14” MLL regulation. The 14” MLL gained popularity and soon began to also receive support as a tool to produce larger size bass. In time, the regulation that had originally been designed as a temporary protective measure was extended indefinitely and linked with expectations beyond original intent. LDWF had been managing black bass populations before Hurricane Andrew. LDWF fisheries biologists began sampling fish populations and angler catch with standardized techniques as early as 1989. Using this long term data set and the results of a 3 year study specifically designed to evaluate the 14” MLL regulation for LMB, we concluded that this regulation was not effective as a management tool in these waters to produce larger size bass and recommended its removal.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 10:20am - 10:40am
Riverview A

Attendees (5)