Declines in Ameiurus catus (White Catfish) abundance throughout much of their native range have been attributed to the rapid colonization of invasive Ictalurus furcatus (Blue Catfish) and Pylodictis olivaris (Flathead Catfish). Because of the potential for imperilment throughout a majority of its native range, we examined the White Catfish population in the St. Marys River, GA, one of the few locations where the catfish assemblage is still native. White Catfish (n = 1244) dominated the ictalurid assemblage, making up 79% of the catfish caught in the St. Marys River. Overall, length of White Catfish varied from 89 to 486 mm TL, with the majority of fish between 220 and 260 mm. Ages of White Catfish varied from 1 to 11 years but was dominated by the 2012 year class (age 3). We estimated a von Bertalannfy growth model for the population (L∞ = 486 mm TL, K = 0.246, t0 = -0.290). Catch-curve analysis indicated that White Catfish had a 45% annual survival rate in 2015. This White Catfish population assessment will provide biologists with baseline parameters to aid in future management and conservation of this declining native species.
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Vol. 16 • No. 3