Stocking as a Management Tool for a Red Drum Fishery, A Preliminary Evaluation
Red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, fingerlings were stocked into a small (3,400 hectares) semi-enclosed, tertiary Texas bay in each of 3 years to determine if stocked fish enhanced overfished native populations. Almost 2 million fish were stocked with 38,236 of them being tagged with coded magnetic wire tags, and 1.6 million were identifiable by size because they were smaller that all naturally spawned red drum at times of stocking. Collections after stocking indicated that stocked fish enhanced native populations because their growth rate after stocking was equal to that of the native fish. They remained in the stocked bay for at least 1 year and the yearling populations were significantly larger in the stocked bay populations in a nearby unstocked bay. The success of stocking apparently depends, in part, on the number of fish stocked and the environmental conditions encountered immediately after stocking.