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Mortality components for two Micropterus spp. in a Southeastern reservoir: a high-value reward and radio telemetry approach.




Rubino, Max

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences


For black bass species (Micropterus spp.) post-release mortality rates are higher for tournaments than non-tournaments and may be a significant component of total fishing mortality. On Neely Henry Reservoir in Alabama there is concern that catch-and-release may be a substantial component of black bass mortality. In particular perceived high effort tournament angling could be causing high fishing mortality. To address this concern, I used a combined high-value reward and radio telemetry approach to partition mortality for Largemouth (Micropterus nigricans) and Alabama Bass (Micropterus henshalli) into harvest, non-tournament catch-and-release, tournament, and natural mortality. Anglers were incentivized by high value rewards to report angling captures, and manual telemetry searches were used to ascertain the survival status of fish. I present an analytical approach that builds on previous studies to incorporate misclassification of survival from radio tags, tag shedding, tagging mortality, and angler non-reporting. I found the relative magnitude of catch-and-release fishing mortality as a component of total mortality was 0.17 and 0.03 for Alabama and Largemouth Bass, respectively. Catch-and-release angling contributed 52% and 20% of total fishing mortality for Alabama Bass and Largemouth Bass respectively, indicating that different black bass species are subject to differential effects of recreational angling. I found the relative magnitude of catch-and-release fishing mortality as a component of total fishing mortality is considerable for black bass species in Neely Henry Reservoir. Results from this study are applicable to other freshwater sport fisheries and indicate that importance of incorperating catch-and-release mortality as a component of total when volunraty release is high.