A size-based stock assessment model for invasive blue catfish in a Chesapeake Bay sub-estuary during 2001-2016


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Stock assessment modeling provides a means to estimate the population dynamics of invasive fishes and may do so despite data limitations. Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) were introduced to the Chesapeake Bay watershed to support recreational fisheries but also consume species of conservation need and economic importance. To assess management tradeoffs, managers need to understand the current status of the population and anticipate future population abundance and trends. A Bayesian size-based stock assessment model was used to estimate blue catfish abundance, fishing mortality, and size structure over time (2001-2016) in the tidal James River. The model estimated population size increases until around 2006, with declines in total abundance after 2011 and large blue catfish (>= 80 cm total length) after 2001. These first estimates of blue catfish population dynamics in the Chesapeake Bay region provide inputs for projection models to evaluate prospective management actions and identify monitoring needs.



Bayesian estimation, data limitations, Ictaluridae, James River, statistical catch-at-length model