Trends in spotted seatrout and red drum abundance in Texas coastal waters influenced by commercial netting activities.
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Spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and red drum (Sciaenops ocellata) population in Texas bays were randomly sampled with 183 m long gill nets November 1975 through March 1976 and November 1976 through March 1977. Catch rates in areas closed to commercial netting for spotted seatrout were about twice as high as those from areas open to netting. There was no difference between the mean total length of spotted seatrout from closed areas and trout from open areas. Closed areas produced about twice as many red drum as open areas. No generalization could be made about the size of red drum and whether they were caught in open or closed areas. Apparently, the effect of commercial netting on the species is local. When spotted seatrout and red drum are removed from netted areas, populations in adjacent non-netted areas are not appreciably affected. Both species are apparently capable of sustaining their populations when subjected to limited commerical netting unless adverse environmental conditions exist.