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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

FACTORS AFFECTING MORTALITY OF LARGEMOUTH BASS MICROPTERUS SALMOIDES IN COMPETITIVE TOURNAMENTS

Abstract

Competitive bass fishing through tournaments provides a recreational opportunity for anglers and an economic opportunity to local communities surrounding productive bass fisheries. However, these activities may negatively impact fisheries due to mortality of bass during and after tournaments. This study determined significant factors influencing total mortality of black bass during competitive tournaments. In searching through numerous databases and journals, we identified 63 tournaments reporting mortality rates and collected 27 variables potentially related to initial, delayed, or total mortality. We constructed univariate regression models to evaluate the effect of significant variables on mortality. Water temperature was the most significant (P<0.001; R2=0.45) variable affecting mortality although tournament length (P=0.014; R2=0.32), state where the tournament was conducted (P<0.001) and elevation (P=0.003; R2=0.25) were also significant. Based upon our results, expected mortality from tournaments conducted when water temperatures exceeded 30°C may be >30%. In southern U.S. reservoirs that experience warm temperatures during summer months, competitive tournaments may adversely impact bass welfare and the ability to maintain healthy, productive fisheries. It is recommended that agencies and anglers implement appropriate strategies to decrease mortality under warm water conditions.

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