Historical Trends in Ictalurid Catfish Commercial Harvest in the Upper Mississippi River
Rebecca M. Krogman, Jesse R. Fischer, Michael C. Quist, Michael J. Steuck, and Michelle M. Marron
Abstract.—Ictalurids compose a substantial portion of the commercial harvest in the upper Mississippi River (UMR). The purpose of this investigation was to examine spatial and temporal trends in commercial harvest of ictalurids in the UMR. The study focused on four species: channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris, blue catfish I. furcatus, and black bullhead Ameiurus melas. We described trends in yield and market value and evaluated the influence of numerous factors on commercial catfish harvest in Pools 3–26 of the UMR between 1953 and 2001. Spatial and temporal variations in commercial harvest of catfish appeared to be driven by different factors through time. Early factors included habitat loss and overexploitation, and later factors included loss of the market share and increased market competition with aquaculture. Ictalurids have maintained a consistent proportion of the total commercial harvest in the UMR, and decreases in catfish harvest may indicate larger declines in commercial fishing.