Florida's State-Wide Tagging Program

The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission has conducted a state-wide fish tagging program for the years 1961 through 1964. Rewards from $25.00 to $10,000.00, offered by the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, insured a high return to the Commission of those fish caught by the anglers. During the four year period, 28,805 fresh-water fish were tagged and released in 120 lakes, rivers, and canals throughout the state. Ten species of fish were tagged with the largemouth bass providing the highest returns. 27.9 per cent of the 9,079 bass tagged were returned. The recaptures for six other centrarchids were considerably lower, ranging from 4.3 per cent for the bluegill (11,658 tagged) to 13.8 per cent for the redbreast sunfish (370 tagged). Tilapia nilotica, tagged in a number of Fish Management Areas, provided a return of 239 15.0 per cent (349 tagged). The grand total returned for all species was 12.5 per cent. The largemouth bass was the only species which was returned in any significant number during the second and third year after tagging. The weighted estimate of survival rates for the largemouth bass were: 1961,14.2 per cent; 1962,16.2 per cent; and 1963,14.8 per cent. The mean rates of exploitation for the largemouth bass were: 1961, 21.2 per cent; 1962, 25.7 per cent; and 1963, 27.7 per cent. Since the period from tagging until recapture was quite short for most species, little growth information was obtained.

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