Comparing Commercial and Recreational Harvest Characteristics of Paddlefish In the Middle Mississippi River

Monday, September 9, 2013: 4:40 PM
Conway (The Marriott Little Rock)
Ryan Hupfeld , Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Missouri Department of Conservation, Jackson, MO
Quinton Phelps , Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station, Missouri Department of Conservation, Jackson, MO
Commercial and recreational fishing can occur simultaneously in some situations, and may cause population declines.  Although many studies have shown both harvest sectors have the potential to exhibit negative impacts on fish populations, commercial fishing has been implicated as the primary component contributing to declines.  However recent studies suggest the recreational sector may also have negative impacts on fish populations.  These deleterious effects can be especially prominent on K-selective species such as paddlefish Polyodon spathula, especially in those areas where commercial and recreational fishing occur simultaneously.  Because these harvest sectors are potentially having different influences on the population, we sought to evaluate the harvest characteristics of the commercial and recreational harvest sectors on the middle Mississippi River paddlefish population.  Our results suggest the commercial sector harvested larger and older individuals than that of the recreational sector.  Because these sectors are harvesting different portions of the population, the relative influence on the dynamic rate functions must be taken into account for fishery management decisions.  Thus obtaining an accurate assessment of catch and effort for both sectors is imperative for the management and allocation of a shared resource in order to provide a long term sustainable fishery for both harvest sectors.