Date of Award

1977

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Animal Science

Department

Animal Science

First Advisor

John Kupa

Abstract

The upper Pettaquamscutt River Estuary contains a unique overwintering population of striped bass, Morone saxatilis (Walbaum). During the winters of 1974 and 1975, experimental gillnets were used to sample this population. Catch data was examined in relaiton to abundance and distribution. Length, weight, and sex of individuals were recorded and ovaries were examined. Ichthyoplankton samples taken in the area during May and June of 1974 were examined for evidence of successful striped bass spawning.

A limited number of striped bass were gillnetted from the sample area. Nine were netted during 1974 and eleven during 1975. Ice limited sampling during the early winter. Gillnets were removed on April 15, and May 15 during 1974 and 1975 respectively. During both winters of sampling, bass were not taken from the sample area after the beginning of April, suggesting that they had left the area.

Age class composition indicates the population was dominated by older fish. The possibility of gear selectivity is discussed. Females were more abundant than males.

Measurement of ova diameters showed normal development when compared with those of southern spawning populations. No striped bass eggs or larvae were identified from ichthyoplankton samples. High salinities may limit the potential of this area as a natural spawning ground.

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