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Commission Agenda Item No. 14
Presenter: Dan Daugherty

Update on Alligator Gar Research and Management
November 7, 2013

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will provide an update on the status of alligator gar research and management in Texas.

II.     Discussion:  TPWD implemented a one-fish-per-day bag limit for alligator gar in 2009 to address increased public interest in the species and concern for potential over-harvest.  Alligator gar populations had by then declined throughout much of their historic range, leaving Texas with the best remaining trophy alligator gar fishing opportunities.  In the intervening years, TPWD staff has investigated population dynamics, movements and habitat needs, genetic variability, and angler exploitation of alligator gar in selected rivers and reservoirs.  The current regulation appears appropriate for sustaining trophy alligator gar fisheries, at current levels of exploitation.  TPWD staff is now investigating relations between river hydrology and alligator gar reproduction to identify the cause of highly variable recruitment observed in various river systems.  TPWD staff is also investigating alligator gar use of coastal bays, in relation to freshwater inflows to help better define appropriate management units for this species.  This research was prompted by significant catches of alligator gar in Coastal Fisheries gillnets and is a collaboration of Inland Fisheries Management and Research, River Studies, and the Coastal Fisheries Division.