dannyplug1

Striped bass Genetics

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I was wondering about something.  With all the emphasis on trophy hunting are we the commercial and recreational destroying the gene pool of large bass?  If you are a commercial fisherman you are fishing for the largest fish you can catch obviously you would rather kill two forties than two fifteen pound fish.  If you are bogus for hire (you sell the bass your charters catch which many do).  Your desire is to catch the biggest fish possible.  Reck fisherman who kill the vast number stripers are all trying for the largest fish.  Some let the fish go but I see many (Facebook this web site New England fisherman) chow choose to keep their trophy.  Now the question I have are we anglers weeding out the best genes as far as size potential out of the bass population?  I wonder if this has happened to the cod fishery.  I remember as a kid in the 70s I would often see pictures of 70 pound cod in the New England fisherman Magazine.  Don't see that any more do you?  Additionally if you go to a large ranch for what they call a "managed hunt"  you are not allowed to harvest the best buck on the ranch.  The managers protect the  genetics of their heard of deer.  I am beginning to wonder if we are destroying the genetic stock of our beloved striped bass,  Just a thought.

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That's the argument for slot sizes.  In hunting there is an argument to cull out the "weakest" of the herd.  The implication is that smaller racks are less desirable genetics.  To me the bigger issue is probably mortality of released fish.  I see some high estimates relating to stripers.  

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This is definitely going to be an oversimplification as genetics are absurdly complex. But there's probably genetics that cover the growth rate of striped bass, id bet some grow slower and some faster, all else being equal.  However I'm 99% sure unlike deer, striped bass continue to grow until they are killed or die of natural causes unlike you or I that reach our maximum height by about a quarter through our lifespan. Given long enough under the right circumstances I think most bass could reach the 70+ lb range.  

 

Its definitely an interesting thought though.  Perhaps we have killed off the fast growers with our trophy hunting mentality.

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18 mins ago, bbfish said:

This is definitely going to be an oversimplification as genetics are absurdly complex. But there's probably genetics that cover the growth rate of striped bass, id bet some grow slower and some faster, all else being equal.  However I'm 99% sure unlike deer, striped bass continue to grow until they are killed or die of natural causes unlike you or I that reach our maximum height by about a quarter through our lifespan. Given long enough under the right circumstances I think most bass could reach the 70+ lb range.  

 

Its definitely an interesting thought though.  Perhaps we have killed off the fast growers with our trophy hunting mentality.

I'm sure there is some impact.  But I see some studies with release mortality rates approaching 50% in warmer temps.  So if we supposed half of the stripers caught and released during summer months died then there isn't that much genetic selectivity from harvesting larger fish.  I'd also expect that surf caught stripers had higher mortality rates in summer than boat caught fish.

 

I'll add I think slot limits make sense.  Even though I keep very, very, few fish I catch. 

Edited by Steve_in_PA

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There have been studies with silversides (Menidia sp.) in tanks in which they repeatedly removed the largest, fastest-growing fish. The average size of those fish decreased as a result.

 

In a less controlled situation, the average size of harvested swordfish has also dropped precipitously. It can probably be argued that there are fewer fish left in the larger size cohorts because they've been fished longer, but it's been shown (not specifically in swords) that we are actually selecting for fish that grow more slowly and reproduce at a smaller size.

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If the SB is 50# then it has most likely spilled its genetics into the biomass over the course of many spawns. Right?

 

The problem is that we are killing these fish before it reaches its maximum size potential. As long as we continue to kill the large fish, we will have much less of that size. But the genetics are still in the biomass because they start spawning at a much youger age.

 

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With a greater  number of large class fish the competition inherent to spawning will cull out the smaller genetically stunted strains that may be in the mix.  Over time those genetic lines will evaporate leaving the biomass with stronger overall potential for size. When more large fish are removed from the stock, less competition exists during a spawn allowing more small fish to successfully spawn, fish that havent lived long enough to set them selves apart as genetically strong outliers and allowing potentially stunted genetic lines to more easily spawn in greater numbers.  Over the course of decades if the trend isnt reversed and large breeders continue to be killed, and stock biomas alone is used to determine the health of a fishery rather than breeding biomas and average size, a stunted population of bass could take hold.  As happened with cod.  

Edited by DeepBlue85

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Some good points but in the end comes down to taking out more than nature makes. Sooner or later there are going to be problems. 
 

any large creature could be large due to genetics or due to time. Youre never going to know that answer. 

There’s an incredibly massive problem when it comes to the striped bass fishery (both rec and comm). You have a fishery on the bay that primarily focuses harvest on immature fish that have never spawned. Then you go to the coastal fisheries and those target the larger actively reproducing bass. So we kill the young ones AND kill the old ones. How incredibly friggin stoopid is that? Seriously. And people are surprised that there’s a problem? A system like that defies all logic and common sense. But here we are....

 

bass are focked. 

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2 hours ago, Drew C. said:

Some good points but in the end comes down to taking out more than nature makes. Sooner or later there are going to be problems. 
 

any large creature could be large due to genetics or due to time. Youre never going to know that answer. 

There’s an incredibly massive problem when it comes to the striped bass fishery (both rec and comm). You have a fishery on the bay that primarily focuses harvest on immature fish that have never spawned. Then you go to the coastal fisheries and those target the larger actively reproducing bass. So we kill the young ones AND kill the old ones. How incredibly friggin stoopid is that? Seriously. And people are surprised that there’s a problem? A system like that defies all logic and common sense. But here we are....

 

bass are focked. 

I think you spell checker needs checking.

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