Mortality of Spotted Seatrout, Red Drum, and Black Drum Caught in Gill Nets

In-net mortality of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), and black drum (Pogonias cromis) caught in gill nets with 7.6,10.2, 12.7, and 15.2 cm stretch mesh was determined in Texas bays during 1985-87. Spotted seatrout had greatest mortality (74%) followed by red drum (55%) and black drum (28%). For each species, in-net mortality was significantly different among meshes, among bays and between seasons. Among these 3 factors, mesh size was the most important in predicting mortality variation. In-net mortality was generally inversely related to mesh size, was higher in spring than fall, and varied without pattern among bays. Limiting the use of monofilament gill nets would prevent excess mortality of spotted seatrout and red drum caught incidental to targeted black drum.

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