Catch-and-Release Mortality Studies of Spotted Seatrout and Red Drum in Coastal Alabama
Success of size-related fishery management measures, such as minimum length limits and slot length limits, can depend on the degree to which nonlegal individuals of the target species are able to survive hook and release events. Both spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus and red drum Sciaenops ocellatus are designated as game fish in Alabama and can be taken in Alabama waters only by recreational fisheries using hook and line. Alabama regulates spotted seatrout fisheries, using a 10-fish daily bag and a minimum length limit of 355-mm (14 in) total length in all state waters. Anglers are allowed to harvest two undersized seatrout in their limit of 10, in a management effort to reduce waste (as a result of this study, the ADCNR/MRD removed the two-under provision on 1 January 2001). Red drum are regulated using a 3-fish daily bag and an exclusionary slot length limit of between 406 mm (16 in) and 660 mm (26 in). One of an angler’s three red drum can exceed 660 mm (26 in) in total length.