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Fort Peck paddlefish population survival and abundance in the Missouri River

October 1, 2020

Excessive fishing pressure can induce population declines or complete collapse of fisheries. Unless commercial and recreational fisheries for K-selected fishes, or those with slow growth and late maturation, are carefully managed, declines in abundance or fishery collapse is probable. Paddlefish Polyodon spathula,are a K-selected species that experienced historical declines in abundance as a result of habitat degradation and overfishing. Mark-recapture studies are well-suited for long-lived fishes by providing information on population density and vital rates. For sustainable commercial or recreational fisheries targeting species such as the paddlefish, managers require accurate estimates of population vital rates including survival, abundance, and exploitation. We used a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) mark-recapture dataset and modified Jolly-Seber (POPAN) models to estimate survival, recapture, probability of entry, and abundance of 8,518 tagged paddlefish over a 25-year period. With many supporting estimates including stable survival (0.92 for females, mean of 0.82 for males), low exploitation rates (means of 2.6% for females and 2.9% for males), and stable abundance estimates (25-year mean of 12,309 individuals for both sexes), the Fort Peck paddlefish population appears to be stable and well-managed over the past 25 years. Presently, this is the only study focused on paddlefish in North America that has estimated survival and abundance for both male and female paddlefish using contemporary analyses. This research provided a unique opportunity to highlight that the effort exerted by management agencies to collect long-term field data is extremely useful to our understanding of fish populations and management.

Publication Year 2020
Title Fort Peck paddlefish population survival and abundance in the Missouri River
DOI 10.1111/jai.14067
Authors Hayley C. Glassic, Christopher S. Guy, Jay J. Rotella, Cody J. Nagel, David A. Schmetterling, Steven R. Dalbey
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Applied Ichthyology
Index ID 70228502
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle