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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone seen any studies done to show the environmental impact of all these "pen raised" redfish that CCA releases? Don't these redfish eat? Could they be eating trout, thus creating a long term trout problem? What about croakers and crabs? All of these fish are reproducing, and they are fun to catch. But what about if this behavior is left unchecked and they continue to add more and more fish? It's the 'ol unintended consequences scenario.
 

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Actually conk, the only reds CCA releases are the tagged ones for STAR. TPWD releases somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25M per year. What do redfish eat? Pretty near anything they can swallow! I asked a Coastal Fisheries biologist the same question you raise here and he asked me if I wore a tin foil hat. He really did!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My hat is wiggled on solid as well. Leave it to a state biologist to give a response like that. 20-25 million a year? At half survival rate, and another half mortality to reach breeding age and you are looking at 5-7 MILLION redfish foraging in our fishery every day. How many years has it been going on?
 

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I doubt that the redfish would eat many trout per se, but they are somewhat competitive with each other as far as forage species. The trout tend to be more deeper/cleaner water oriented, reds shallow/dirtier water, but the shrimp the red eats in shallow/dirty water obviously won't make it to feed a trout, so, I guess if you over stocked with redfish, it could diminish the trout population but so far I haven't heard any scientific studies suggesting that reds are squeezing out the trout.
 

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They are the fishery! They do not swim around in groups wearing leather jackets and bullying all the "natural" sea life in the area. Do the other fish make fun of them because they were born in a lab? They become part of the fishery the second they hit the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I doubt that the redfish would eat many trout per se, but they are somewhat competitive with each other as far as forage species. The trout tend to be more deeper/cleaner water oriented, reds shallow/dirtier water, but the shrimp the red eats in shallow/dirty water obviously won't make it to feed a trout, so, I guess if you over stocked with redfish, it could diminish the trout population but so far I haven't heard any scientific studies suggesting that reds are squeezing out the trout.
See how you said "I doubt"? That is the root of my question. As biologists, shouldn't they KNOW what the consequences of the stockings are before pulling the trigger?

The good news is that if it does get out of control, the limits should go back up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
They are the fishery! They do not swim around in groups wearing leather jackets and bullying all the "natural" sea life in the area. Do the other fish make fun of them because they were born in a lab? They become part of the fishery the second they hit the water.
:cool:
 

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Conk

Your title is deceiving; you want to talk about CCA, about the negative impact of the redfish releases?????

CCA helps with the cost of a cashed strapped state run facility, to help the resource, for you and I, weather your a member of CCA or not.

[email protected] gave you the correct information. TPWD release apporx. 20-25 Million BABY redfish every year along the Texas coast.

Through studies, TPWD believe only about 10% make it big enough to harvest or at least make it to fisherman's ice chest.

Everything eats everything in our waters.

Down in the LLM, they feel the Redfish that are re-stocked make up a greater number, more in the 20% range.

There is so much pressure on coastal fish like the redfish, that the fish releases they do helps more fishermen catch fish.

Do a search about fish releases and I have given some exact number for 2009 to date of the post.

BTW
There are no "Pin raised" redfish..... they are kept in tanks and contained in outside ponds.

If TPWD did not help the resource, via restocking, there would definitely be fewer fish to catch..... but to basically complain about something you don't know the details about is really irresponsible.

Go down to the Sea Center in Lake Jackson and learn for yourself ....it's free, open everyday of the week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Conk

Your title is deceiving; you want to talk about CCA, about the negative impact of the redfish releases?????

CCA helps with the cost of a cashed strapped state run facility, to help the resource, for you and I, weather your a member of CCA or not.

[email protected] gave you the correct information. TPWD release apporx. 20-25 Million BABY redfish every year along the Texas coast.

Through studies, TPWD believe only about 10% make it big enough to harvest or at least make it to fisherman's ice chest.

Everything eats everything in our waters.

Down in the LLM, they feel the Redfish that are re-stocked make up a greater number, more in the 20% range.

There is so much pressure on coastal fish like the redfish, that the fish releases they do helps more fishermen catch fish.

Do a search about fish releases and I have given some exact number for 2009 to date of the post.

BTW
There are no "Pin raised" redfish..... they are kept in tanks and contained in outside ponds.

If TPWD did not help the resource, via restocking, there would definitely be fewer fish to catch..... but to basically complain about something you don't know the details about is really irresponsible.

Go down to the Sea Center in Lake Jackson and learn for yourself ....it's free, open everyday of the week.
OK, so its TPWD instead of CCA. I stand corrected. Complaining is irresponsible? Really? Do you understand what I am asking? Think of it this way. Lets say you have a 1 acre pound that produces good sized and numbers of bass, crappie, and catfish. Now, through in the bass raised at another pond. Don't you think this would have effects on the balance that was already NATURALLY created? Yes. The "new" bass would feed on the other bass and the crappie and the crayfish, thus reducing the overall forage for ALL the fish in the pond. It's a question of the dynamics of over-population.
 

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hmmm...

I'm not a biologist, but I think the numbers are published somewhere. I think the survival rate of the fingerlings the TPW releases is more like 1 in 100 survive, or even 1 in 1000.

Can redfish populations increase to a point where they impact the available food resource? Yes, absolutely. Look at LA where the crab populations have been impacted. But here in Texas? Don't think so, even though TPW has suggested on several occaisions of increasing the bag limits for reds (which is soundly rejected by the anglers).

The redfish populations in Texas are very healthy, and the stockings done really balance out the put-and-take fishery.

HOWEVER, managing the entire ecosystem is critical in the whole management plan. This is why HABITAT is so important to any fishery. Increase and preserve the habitat and fish populations explode, all the way up the food chain. In fact, from my understanding, if you have good habitat perservation, you don't have to restock.

Now I understand that coastal ecosystems are different than lakes, but I know from my reading that TPW can determine how many pounds per acre a lake can support - and then that's it. If you put more bass in that the habitat can support, they die off. You manage for size - for example, adjust the factors so you get ten 10 pound bass per acre vs one hundred 1 pound bass - but unless the habitat is changed, you still are only going to get 100 lbs of bass per acre.

I believe the coastal ecosystems are much more closed than folks realize. It's not "the whole coast", but each bay - or some cases sub bays - is pretty static.

If you increase the habitit, the more bait (food sources) can be supported - and all species of fish increase.

Again, from my understanding, the main problem in our bays is that the habitat is not as healthy as it once was. Due to pollution, fresh water flow, and pass closures the bays simply cannot sustain the "pounds per acre" that they once did.

This being the case, you have certain species that can adapt to different or alternate food sources better being to "tip out of balance" at the expense of other species. Redfish, being very hearty and adaptable, tend to "crowd out" other species like croaker, flounder, etc.

This is why projects like re-opening Cedar Bayou are supremely important and will result in dramatic increases in ALL species. It can have a more immediate and sustainable effect that changing bag limits or seasons.

Do trout suffer because of the increase population of reds. Maybe, but understand there's not as big of overlap of the food sources as you might think. Redfish, while they eat anything, really (in most ecosystems) feed primarily on crab and fin fish. Trout primarily on shrimp and fin fish.

Fin fish are secondary, so if you want more trout - increase the shrimp populations and more trout will be sustainable. Reds, increase the crabs.

This is an oversimplication, but you get the idea. Improve the habitat, and it is easier to build up the food sources. Can't increase the forage base or habitat, then you must mess with the bag limits.

We should all understand that, except for certain circumstances, adjusting the bag limits is a management method of last resort. It indicates the habitat/forage base is in trouble. The exceptions would be cases where environmental or fish behaviour concentrate fish in a way that makes harvest easy or more detrimental. For example, the spawning run of flounder concentrate a lot of fish in a small area, making them easy to target and more susceptable to over-harvest.

Otherwise, we should be focusing on reduction of harvest of the forage base and cleanup/improvement of habitat. Unfortunately, that is much harder to do. Commercial interests, such as for-sale fisheries, and land development (creating canals or dredging) that destroy nursery areas have political considerations that are tough to fight. Especially since the widespread effect they have are not easily proved and there is a more of an indirect effect that is hard to show. But be sure, they have a HUGE effect.

The TPW is not able to control these factors. It takes money and political bargining and is a slow process that often has meager or no results. Therefore, the TPW is left to management techniques that they CAN control entirely and are easier to implement - such as bag limits.

Sorry...getting off topic....

The health of our bays can be gaged by certain "benchmark" species that are more fragile. Fish like cow rays, sawfish, croaker, bluefish, tarpon, etc. These species have been eliminated or severely reduces in our bays not from overfishing (the decline started 50 years ago when fishing pressure was light), but rather but the destruction of habitat due to industrial expansion, land development, damming of rivers, etc.

You may not be aware, but more than 50 years ago Galveston bay was very, very clear - and was almost all shell. Was actually difficult to navigate because of all the reefs. Pollution and runoff, together with the massive harvest of oysters for road construction, changed the face of the bay and SEVERELY impacted it's ability to support the marine life. I think I read somewhere that Galveston Bay can now only support less than 1% of the marine critters that it used to. In fact, I believe there used to be a shell reef that ran almost all the way across the bay that they used to drive cattle across (around the turn of the century).

If I had MY way, I would start creating islands, shoals, and reefs within Galveston bay to dramatically increase the shallow shorelines, marsh areas, grass beds. This could be done without impact to commercial navigation, and would create tons of areas to fish, improve the water quality, and dramatically increase the fish populations. Imagine having tarpon as a common occurance within the bay. It's possible, but no one ever listens to me! sad4sm
 

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Muddskipper is right on what he said. I used to work at Sea Center for a few years. Has it come to anyone's thoughts that they (TPWD) also release speckled trout in our bay systems as well? Also working on Flounder as we speak.

Capt. Dustin Lee
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....Complaining is irresponsible? Really? Do you understand what I am asking? ........ It's a question of the dynamics of over-population.
Actually you undermine your own intelligence by coming on a fishing board, and Complain about there being to many redfish !!!!

There is no "over-population" of redfish!!!

To date I have never seen a trout in a redfish belly. I am sure redfish have eaten baby trout, but to suggest that redfish are impacting the eco-system because there are too many is ridiculous.

If there are to many of anything, it's fisherman!, and they have the greatest negative impact on the eco-system, and the population on any species.
 

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Conk

Conk, I understand the point you are trying to make - I think. Don't stock so many redfish and they'll be more trout to catch, right?

Theoretically you may have something there. However, it's hard to control a single species that way - through indirect management.

The result of not stocking redfish may be an explosion in the population of hardheads, for example. Or sheepshead. Or Jellyfish. There's no way to predict what will happen. Furthermore, an explosion in hardheads may result in a large number of trout eggs being consumed and end up wiping out trout!

In addition, part of TPW is producing enough DESIRABLE fish that people want to catch. They are trying to make the average joe fisherman happy. Average Joe wants the big three - trout, redfish, and flounder. The management efforts in place have accomplished that VERY successfully for redfish. Also helped with trout, but not to the extent of redfish - but they are trying. Trout are slower to mature, more fragile, and take more money and resources to produce sustainable fingerlings.

They are only now beginning with flounder.

Now they could also put forth efforts to "stock" mullet and shrimp, which would also have a cross-the-board effect. Problem is, people don't want to catch mullet or shrimp, so it's hard to get approval. Furthermore, stocking shrimp would probably revitalize the commercial shrimping industry and that forage base would be scooped out of the bay before they ever reached hungry fish. What a backlash from the recreational fishermen would ensure, as it would appear that TPW was helping the commercial industry. Politics is in everything.

If commercial shrimping was completely outlawed, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if TPW would push strongly for a "shrimp program". As it is now, however, there efforts are focused on bringing quick results to their main target - fishermen who want to catch "good" fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I understand completely what ya'll are saying. Ecosystems will reach a balance NATURALLY, if left alone. Stocking fish upsets the balance by the redfish growing at an "artificial rate." due to the actions of man. I know, I know, I know we have got to consider counts and mortality rates. Duh. But what about the breeding of those fish? These posts are full of speculation, which is what the state is doing. Where is the SCIENCE?

I have fished the Galveston Bay system for the better part of 30 years and I have never seen the redfishing better. Weren't the restrictions we are under a result of Paul Prudhomme and his blackened redfish? Purse seining huge schools of redfish?

It was stated that the fisherman are the ones keeping the limits down, but why isn't it SCIENCE. In all honesty, we shouldn't have a say in it if the SCIENCE was there. I also believe, as others have stated, that each bay should be handled differently.Just as freshwater lakes can play by their own rules that fits THAT ecosystem.

The only data I have ever seen was based on historical counts, and all subsequent data is compared to that. Why isn't it a function of the biomass within the ecosystem?

Once again, we have a debate based in speculation when we should be demanding that the SCIENCE be the leading force to population control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
John-

No, I'm not saying we shouldn't be stocking more redfish. We might need to catch more redfish, I don't know. What is the optimum level of redfish that SHOULD be in Trinity Bay at any given time? We don't know!!! What if we have too many??? How does that effect the population densities of trout? Flounder? Crabs? Croaker? You get the picture. I am simply asking a few questions and trying to promote a change from speculation to SCIENCE in regards to population management. It should aggravate all of us that the state has no clue regarding the unintended consequences of its actions. See Obamacare for further explanation.
 

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These posts are full of speculation, which is what the state is doing. Where is the SCIENCE?
It was stated that the fisherman are the ones keeping the limits down, but why isn't it SCIENCE.
The only data I have ever seen was based on historical counts, and all subsequent data is compared to that. Why isn't it a function of the biomass within the ecosystem?
Once again, we have a debate based in speculation when we should be demanding that the SCIENCE be the leading force to population control.
Conk, I'm curious, why do you think that introduction of redfish fingerlings into our bays is not based on science?
Have you done any research with TPWD and your results are that there is no science, or are you just assuming that there is no science because you haven't seen any?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Conk, I'm curious, why do you think that introduction of redfish fingerlings into our bays is not based on science?
Have you done any research with TPWD and your results are that there is no science, or are you just assuming that there is no science because you haven't seen any?
Because there is a lack of data. All of the data I have seen is based on historical numbers from years past. Right? We always here something like "Trout levels are at levels not seen since 1982, the year before the freeze"
My question is, historical levels don't mean jack. I want to see the data that shows X amount of redfish, X amount of trout, X amount of flounder can flourish given the biomass of a given system. Make sense? In spinning the discussion around, wouldn't it make sense that other species would prosper if speckled trout (all of them) died in a freeze? Why? There would be more forage for the remaining species, and less predation from the trout. See how this would change the fishing scenery?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"There is no "over-population" of redfish!!!"

What is the based on? You aren't catching them?
Are the populations only "healthy" when a certain amount of people catch them? Give me a quick definition what "over populated" and under populated" represent. The answer should be a number.
 

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On a recent flounder round up, I had one of the biologist on my boat and I asked him all kinds of questions.

Something to consider regarding historical numbers.

TPWD is only adding a small percentage of fish to the eco system.

To date, we have never seen the pressure on the bays as the amount of fisherman that fish saltwater, which has steadliy grown in every bay system for Texas.

Just look at the population of Houston in the last 10 years....that directly effects the amount of boats on the water that is the closest to the big city.

TPWD does numerous gill net surveys. These are at random places, and they not only check the population of the larger fish, but also the smaller fish and fry.
BTW - they just finished their 09' surveys and are now calculating them.

They have been doing these surveys for over 30 yrs.

NO one has done what TPWD has done regarding the count of fish in TEXAS bays, and no one has the historical data that TPWD has.

You have to go on historical numbers in the nets.
Other numbers TPWD checks is the surveys they do at boat ramps and marinas. They count boats and trailers, fishing license, and other things that I don't know.
TPWD compiles these every year and makes their decisions on mulit-year trends and forecasts.
Are they 100% correct ...of course not....and they do their best to look at all aspects before a decision is made, as their decisions impact more than the fish, like marinas and commercial intrest.

The public is not in the dark!
TPWD hold numerous meetings, before decisions are even brought before the commision for them to make the decision.

If your comments from this thread, are geared towards an increase in bag limits for the redfish, it is being considered. To date the commision has decided twice to not increase the limits from 3 - 5 from what I was told.

But there is NO LACK OF DATA ,so please stop making false statements.
 
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