Flathead Catfish Abundance and Growth in the Flint River, Georgia

Abundance and growth rates of flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) from the Flint River, Georgia, were investigated during 1985 to gain basic information for future implementation of management strategies. Pectoral fins were disarticulated, sectioned at the articulating process, photographed, and enlarged for aging. The Schnabel and Schumacher-Eschmeyer multiple census population estimators produced similar results: there were 7,647 and 8,013 flathead catfish ≥ 305 rom in the 50-km section of river, respectively. Biomass estimates were 23.2 and 24.3 kglha. Growth was very fast for the earlier year classes (1976-1980), but had declined in recent years. Flathead catfish had become very abundant, and the reduced growth rate may be due to increased numbers, if growth is density dependent.

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