The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is asking anglers and non-anglers to participate in a brief online survey to share their experiences and opinions about alligator gar, Texas’ largest freshwater fish. The results from this survey will help TPWD make informed management decisions regarding this species in the near future.
“Our management goal is to sustain our unique alligator gar fisheries for future generations of Texans,” said Warren Schlechte, TPWD Inland Fisheries research biologist. “We spent the last decade learning about the biology of alligator gar, and from that we know we have a variety of management options on the table. What we need now is constituent input – this survey will give our constituents a place at the table.”
Survey questions focus on gathering information about who constituents are, how anglers like to fish, angler harvest practices, and how people would like to see alligator gar managed in the future.
Once considered a “trash” fish, native alligator gar have been growing in popularity among anglers in recent decades and people from all over the world visit Texas to catch these large and challenging fish. Although some target alligator gar to catch the trophy fish of a lifetime, others intend to harvest them for a meal.
Texans are fortunate to continue to have healthy populations of the species in the state, but even healthy alligator gar populations can only sustain harvest rates of about 5 percent each year. Schlechte said that equates to relatively few alligator gar that can be sustainably harvested each year. With more and more anglers pursuing these fish, it is critical that fisheries managers work to ensure not too many fish are being removed from Texas waters.
“At the end of the day our mission is to provide an enjoyable fishing experience for today’s anglers while conserving this species for tomorrow,” Schlechte said. “By balancing sound science with our constituents desires we believe we can achieve that goal.”
To learn more about this species or view the findings of studies conducted by TPWD biologists before taking the survey, visit tpwd.texas.gov/texasgar.