Arkansas' Catchable Channel Catfish Program

The discreet utilization of Arkansas' expansiTe hatchery system has become an integral tool of the management staff of the fisheries division as related to the manipulation of a given fish population in a desired direction. As attempts at population manipulation through mass stocking of fingerling fish within existing populations became more or less universally accepted as being ineffective and incongruent with sound management principles, hatchery production, particularly of channel catfish, was slanted toward rearing of larger and older fish which would not only be less susceptible to predation, but would also create an immediate fishery where stocked. Channel catfish reared to 10 inch average total length (approximately 0.3-0.5 pounds) meet these criteria of high survival rates after stocking and of making a substantial contribution to the fishery; these channel cat are referred to as "catchabIes." This paper is concerned with production trends of catchable channel catfish in Arkansas' hatchery system and the correlation of this trend with an ecologically indoctrinated management program.

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