Flathead catfish stock characteristics in the Pascagoula River following Hurricane Katrina
Barabe, Russell M.
Flathead catfish stocks in the Pascagoula River were decimated by the passage of Hurricane Katrina. Age-0 fish survived the storm, producing a strong 2005 year-class. Reproduction by the remaining adults and/or downstream movement from tributaries produced an additional strong cohort in 2006. The strong 2005 year-class resulted in the capture of a high proportion of two-year-old fish in 2007. In 2008, a high proportion of two- and three-year-old fish were captured, illustrating the high rate of survival of the 2005 year-class, and the presence of a strong 2006 year-class. The flathead catfish population of the Pascagoula River was dominated by immature fish that should begin to reproduce in 2009, and most of these fish should reach sexual maturity by 2011. Density estimates are low when compared to other populations, indicating that a management option of a minimum length limit of 610 mm could prove useful in protecting these future spawners.