Analysis of a Blue Catfish Population in a Southeastern Reservoir: Lake Norman, North Carolina
Grist, Joseph Daniel
MetadataShow full item record
This investigation examined the diet, growth, movement, population genetics, and possible consumption demands of an introduced blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus population in Lake Norman, North Carolina. Clupeids, Corbicula fluminea, and Chara were the predominant food items (percent stomach contents by weight) found in blue catfish, and varied by season, lake-region, and fish size-class. Lake Norman blue catfish grow at a slower rate than has been reported for other reservoir populations, with fair to poor body conditions (Wr<85) early in life, but improving with increases in length (Wr>95). Movements and home ranges of blue catfish in Lake Norman were extremely varied, but individual blue catfish did establish specific seasonal home ranges and exhibited site fidelity. A spawning area in the upper region of the lake was identified and data suggested that blue catfish may have segregated populations within Lake Norman. The Lake Norman blue catfish population exhibited relatively little genetic variability, and was genetically differentiated from populations from Santee-Cooper, SC, and Arkansas. Genetic diversity could have been limited by a population bottleneck at the founding of the population or in subsequent generations. A consumption model indicated that 5.0 kg/ha to 8.3 kg/ha of clupeid standing stock could be eaten annually by blue catfish in Lake Norman based on percent stomach contents by weight data, and 21 kg/ha to 42 kg/ha based on percent caloric contribution calculations. This may reduce the possible production of other game fish species, including the put-grow-take striped bass Morone saxatilis fishery.
- Masters Theses