Management of Tropical Freshwater Fisheries with Stocking: The Past, Present, and Future of Propagated Fishes in Puerto Rico
J. Wesley Neal, Richard L. Noble, Maria de Lourdes Olmeda, and Craig G. Lilyestrom
Abstract.—The native freshwater fish assemblage in Puerto Rico is limited to a few catadromous species; consequently, many species have been introduced from other regions of the world. In this case study, we examine the use of fish species introduction and propagation in the management of freshwater systems in Puerto Rico. The history of importation, propagation, and introduction is organized into four primary phases: (1) the prehatchery phase, with limited introductions from the United States to rivers and earliest reservoirs; (2) the coldwater phase, with primary emphasis on trout species for high-altitude river introductions; (3) the early warmwater phase, with generous species introductions and supplementation without significant evaluation; and (4) the current modern phase, with primary focus on largemouth bass and prey species with significant assessment, evaluation, and research on stocking efficacy. We describe previous research that has guided the use of fish propagation in Puerto Rico, and we discuss the future of propagated fishes in fisheries management.