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Exploring Population-Level Effects of Fishery Closures during Spawning: An Example Using Largemouth Bass

Summary: Exploring Population-Level Effects of Fishery Closures during
Spawning: An Example Using Largemouth Bass
School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences,
University of Florida, Post Office Box 110600, Gainesville, Florida 32653-3071, USA
Abstract.--We used an age-structured model to evaluate the impacts of recreational angling during
spawning on populations of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and the potential benefits of seasonal
fishing closures. We simulated fisheries with average and high capture rates (i.e., fractions of the stock caught
by anglers). We manipulated mortality rates to mimic the effects of various regulations, including (1) an open
fishery with no closures, (2) a full fishery closure during the spawning season, (3) a catch-and-release fishery
during the spawning season, and (4) a year-round catch-and-release fishery. We simulated two hypothetical
populations: a high-productivity, low-latitude population and a low-productivity, high-latitude population.
Spawning season closures produced the largest relative increases in adult abundance when applied to low-
productivity populations and when capture rates were high (e.g., 70%) and harvest rates were relatively low
(20%). This resulted because very high capture rates imply that most spawning fish will be caught by anglers
and potentially lose their broods to nest predators. The existing evidence suggests that these conditions (very
high capture rates combined with low harvest rates) are the exception rather than the rule across largemouth
bass fisheries. Understanding capture and harvest rates is critical to the use of seasonal closures in recreational
Management of fisheries with closed seasons often


Source: Allen, Micheal S. - Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology