Fish tagging in Texas Bays during November 1975- September 1976




Matlock, G.C.
Weaver, J.E.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Coastal Fisheries Branch


During November 1975 - September 1976, 3730 fish representing 13 species were tagged with internal abdominal tags along the Texas coast. Most fish (95.4%) were tagged from November through May. Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) were the predominant species tagged (2913 fish). Of the 13 species tagged, recaptures of seven species were reported. Red drum had the largest percent recaptures with 11.6% followed by gulf flounder (Paralichthys albigutta) (9.3%), Atlantic croaker (Micropogon undulatus) (4.0%), southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) (4.5%), black drum (3.4%), sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) (2.9%) and spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) (2.3%). Sport fisherman reported catching 132 tagged fish; commercial fishermen reported 82. Experimental sampling by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department resulted in 12 fish and unknown fishermen reported 10. Tagged fish were returned during all months with the majority (72.9%) being returned after March. Rewards paid during this study totaled $518. Most of the recaptured red drum (68.6%) and black drum (67.3%) traveled < 10 km from the tagging site. No apparent relationship existed between time free and distance traveled for either species. This pattern was consistent in all bays except upper and lower Laguna Madre where the majority (> 50.0%) traveled > 10 km. The percent of red drum and black drum recaptured decreased as the distance from the tagging site increased. The relationships can be expressed in the forms: Red drum Y= 2.68 - 1.42X Black drum Y= 2.51 - 1.33X where Y= log percent and X= log distance (upper limit of each 5 km increment). Only 12 (7.5%) of the recaptured red drum and one (1.9%) of the recaptured black drum left the bay system where tagged. A lack of extensive mass migration by red drum and black drum indicates that each bay system on the Texas coast can be considered a closed system for these two species. Variation associated with the mean weight growth rate obtained from recapture data was much greater than that associated with the mean length growth rate. Therefore, length should be used as a basis for expressing growth rate. Annual mean growth rates of recaptured red drum in Texas bays ranged from 0.30 +/- 0.11 mm/day in the Corpus Christi Bay system to 0.85 +/-0.47 mm/day in the Galveston Bay system. Mean growth rates in each bay system were not significantly different from each other (F= 1.14; df= 6, 103; P > 0.05). The mean growth rate for all recaptured red drum was 0.43 +/- 0.08 mm/day. Size at tagging did not relate to growth rate. Annual mean growth rates of recaptured black drum in Texas bays ranged from - 0.90 +/- 0.00 mm/day in the San Antonio Bay system to 3.08 +/- 2.74 mm/day in the Corpus Christi Bay system. This wide variation was probably attributable to the small sample size. The mean growth rate for all recaptured black drum was 0.73 +/-0.25 mm/day. Size at tagging did not relate to growth rate. Monthly survival estimates for fish in all bays were 90.9 +/- 3.2% for red drum and 80.0 +/- 5.4% for black drum. A model assuming constant survival and recovery rates was selected as the best fit for both species because it was not significantly differnt (P > 0.05) from more complex models where one or both of the parameters were time specific. Monthly fishing mortality estimates for red drum were 1.0 +/- 0.2% for sport fishermen and 1.0 +/- 0.3% for commercial fishermen, assuming a 100% reporting rate. Monthly fishing


135 pgs.


marine fish, tagging, growth, local movements, red drum, Sciaenops ocellata, black drum, Pogonias cromis, gulf flounder, Paralichthys albigutta, Atlantic croaker, Micropogon undulatus, southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma, black drum, sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus