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Effects of Striped Bass Stocking on Largemouth Bass and Spotted Bass in Lewis Smith Lake, Alabama

SHEPHERD Michael D. ; MACEINA Michael J. ;

Introductions of striped bass Morone saxatilis into U.S. reservoirs have caused concern among anglers that target other species owing to the perception that this predator reduces the number of other sport fish and can limit available prey supplies. Recently, this controversy arose in Lewis Smith Lake (8,583 ha), Alabama, prompting this study to examine the effects of stocking striped bass on the resident population of black bass Micropterus spp. From October 2006 to August 2007, the diets of striped bass, largemouth bass M. salmoides, and spotted bass M. punctulatus were examined in this reservoir. The density and biomass of striped bass and black bass were computed from estimates of age-0 black bass abundance, striped bass stocking rates, growth, and survival. Bioenergetics models were used to estimate striped bass and black bass consumptive food demands. Striped bass diets (by weight) were dominated by shad Dorosoma spp. (64%), followed by crayfish Oronectes spp. (12%), while black bass and sunfish Lepomis and crappies Pomoxis spp. comprised 5% and 6% of the diet, respectively. Numerically, sunfish-crappies and black bass only comprised 0.28% and 0.16% of the diets of striped bass. The diets of largemouth bass and spotted bass (by weight) were dominated by crayfish (72% and 75%, respectively) and sunfish-crappies (21% and 9%, respectively), while shad comprised 6% and 14% of the diets, respectively. Diet overlap values between striped bass and black bass were generally low but varied seasonally among species. The highest overlap between the diets of striped bass and black bass was observed in April and June. However, the relative weights of black bass did not decline or the frequency of empty stomachs among these species did not increase during or after this time. Overall, consumptive prey demand was similar between striped bass and black bass. Bioenergetics modeling estimated striped bass consumption of shad, bass-sunfish-crappies, and crayfish averaging 14, 3, and 5 kg/ha, respectively, compared with 3, 6, and 16 kg/ha, respectively, for black bass. Shad consumption by striped bass and black bass (relative to the total annual supply) was within acceptable levels. Striped bass consumption of black bass was low, striped bass and black bass partitioned prey resources, and the temporal differences in maximum consumptive demand varied between black bass and striped bass. Thus, we found that the impact of striped bass stocking on the black bass population was minimal.

Journal Title
North American journal of fisheries management ISSN 0275-5947 CODEN NAJMDP

2009, vol. 29, no5, pp. 1232-1241 [10 page(s) (article)]
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