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Stage-Structured Simulations Suggest That Removing Young of the Year Is an Effective Method for Controlling Invasive Smallmouth Bass

Loppnow, Grace L., Venturelli, Paul A.
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 2014 v.143 no.5 pp. 1341-1347
Micropterus dolomieu, adults, bass, control methods, invasive species, managers, population growth, simulation models
Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu is an invasive fish for which few control methods have been developed or tested. Adult removal is most common, but this strategy is labor-intensive and can result in an increase in population abundance (i.e., overcompensation). Using a stage-structured matrix model, we tested removal of young of the year as a control method, both alone and in combination with three supplemental removal strategies. Our results suggest that young of the year removal alone does not lead to overcompensation and can be expected to control some populations of Smallmouth Bass in a reasonable timeframe (e.g., 75% reduction in abundance after 10 years at 68% removal). Lower rates of removal of young of the year are required if this method is combined with supplemental removal strategies (especially those that also target immature bass). Where feasible, we recommend that managers include young of the year removal as part of their control plans. Future research should focus on incorporating more biological realism into simulation models and testing this method in the field.