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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 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Fisheries. Demographics and Fishing Practices of Hand Fishers in Texas

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AUTHORS: Dan Bennett, Kris Bodine, Warren Schlechte, Richard Ott, Jacob Norman - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

ABSTRACT: In 2011, the Texas state legislature legalized hand fishing as a harvest method for catfish in Texas. Although large catfish (> 600 mm) are expected to be vulnerable to this fishing method; little is known about hand fishers or their harvest practices. To help make informed management decisions, we used a statewide survey to collect information on demographics and fishing practices of those who hand fish. Survey respondents (N = 118) were primarily preexisting catfish fishermen who already utilized other gear types to fish for catfish; 5.6% of respondents exclusively hand fished. Despite a willingness to use other gear types, 40% of those surveyed (N = 47) considered hand fishing their most important catfishing activity. Respondents indicated they hand fished a median of 15 days annually, primarily during the spawning period. Hand fishers reported catching about eight catfish per day while hand fishing, yet harvesting only two or three. The median size of flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) and blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) caught was 762 and 508 mm, respectively. The maximum size flathead catfish and blue catfish hand fishers indicated they would keep was 1016 mm and 914 mm, respectively; which corresponded to the suggested trophy size for each species. Results suggest that whereas hand fishers target large fish, harvest may not be a primary objective. The addition of hand fishing does not appear to have recruited many new fishermen to catfishing, and the overall impact to Texas’ fisheries resources will likely be minimal.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Riverview A

Attendees (6)