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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
Evaluation of Stocking All Female Largemouth Bass to Provide Quality Fisheries in Alabama Ponds

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Michael J. Maceina, Steven M. Sammons, Ronald P. Phelps –Auburn University

Excessive largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides recruitment in small impoundments causes density-dependent growth depression, causing populations to become slow growing with length distributions skewed towards smaller fish. To address this issue, we conducted three trials that evaluated stocking all female largemouth bass (F-LMB) in two small Alabama ponds (0.5 and 2.0 ha). Sex of age-1 largemouth bass was determined with insertion of a micro pipette in the urogenital pore to detect ovarian tissue or eggs. Fish were individually tagged and stocked at 38-40 age-1 F-LMB/ha into ponds that contained pre-established sunfish Lepomis spp. populations. Electrofishing, angling, and rotenone collected F-LMB over a 2.5 to 5 year period among the three trials. Sex was correctly identified for 179 of the 180 F-LMB stocked; one male was detected in the first trial which resulted in successful largemouth bass reproduction and termination of this trial. Average annual survival rates for F-LMB were high and ranged from 0.74 to 0.95. Growth was rapid the first 2 years after stocking as 3-year old fish reached an average of 429 to 459 mm and 1.37 to 1.66 kg. However, 2 years after stocking, growth was nil in two of three trials even though relative weights of F-LMB were generally greater than 100. Where F-LMB growth continued, average size approached 500 mm and 2.2 kg 3 years after stocking. In one trial where growth and relative weights declined, removal of about 30% of the F-LMB inhabiting the pond and stocking advance-size nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus fry (25-75mm TL) resulted in average weights increasing from 1.30 to 2.34 kg in 1 year. Stocking F-LMB offers an attractive alternative in ponds to create a low density largemouth bass population that displays fast growth and high survival when catch-and release fishing is primarily practiced.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST

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