Suitability Of Alewife As A Pelagic Forage Fish For Southeastern Reservoirs

Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) were evaluated as a pelagic forage fish for southeastern reservoirs based on results of trophic and population ecology studies conducted in Claytor Lake, Virginia. Positive attributes of the alewife forage based included: a) establishment of a prolific and self-sustaining population, b) high desirability and availability to pelagic predators, and c) a positive impact on growth of pelagic sportfish. Negative attributes included: a) predation on larval fish, b) low desirability and/or availability to littoral sportfishes, c) rapid growth beyond a size vulnerable to most predators, d) fluctuating population levels, e) alteration of zooplankton size composition by selective predation on largest forms, and f) emigration to a downstream reservoir. Alewife are most suitable for introduction to waters managed primarily for pelagic piscivores on a put-grow-take basis. Because of the potential for emigration, management decisions regarding alewife should be developed on a regional rather than local basis.

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