Trends in relative abundance and size of selected finfishes in Texas bays: November 1975 - December 1986




Rice, K.W.
McEachron, L.W.
Hammerschmidt, P.C.

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Coastal Fisheries Branch


Trends in relative abundance and size of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), black drum (Pogonias cromis), sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus), southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma), Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus), sand seatrout (C. arenarius), gafftopsail catfish (Bagre marinus), Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus), hardhead catfish (Arius felis), pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides), spot (Leiostomus xanthurus), and striped mullet (Mugil cephalus) have been monitored since 1975 using a standardized fishery independent gill net and bay seine sampling program in Texas bay systems. Fall and spring gill net catch rates indicate that declines in red drum and spotted seatrout populations have lowered or stopped since the prohibition of sale of these species in September 1981. However, the effect of these regulations has been affected by a coastwide fish kill caused by freezing temperatures during December 1983 and January 1984. Reduced population levels of red drum, spotted seatrout, and black drum following a freeze during 1983-1984 were observed in the 1984 and 1985 spring gill net catch rates and in the annual (1984) bag seine catches. Fall and spring 1986 gill net catch rates for red drum, spotted seatrout, and black drum increased or remained the same over 1985. The 1986 data continue to show that the impacts of management decisions based on optimum sustained yield, effects of catastrophic events, and stock recruitment relationsips can be measured by using estimates of relative abundance based on the fishery independent monitoring program.


192 pgs.


marine fish, abundance, size, red drum, Sciaenops ocellata, spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma, black drum, Pogonias cromis, sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, Atlantic croaker, Micropogon undulatus, sand seatrout, Cynoscion arenarius, gulf menhaden, Brevoortia patronus, hardhead catfish, Arius felis, pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides, spot, Leiostomus xanthurus, striped mullet