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Interjurisdictional Paddlefish Snagging Study

Snagging Paddlefish | Tagging Study | Angling Tags | Paddlefish Permits | Archery Paddlefish | Paddlefish Application Dates |

Beginning in 1995, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks joined a 22-state paddlefish tagging project.  Any paddlefish has the potential of carrying a specially coded wire microtag.  The tag has been placed in the paddle and cannot be seen and can only be recovered with special equipment.

Each tag, although only the size of a fragment of hair, bears a coded "message."  This information is vital for the long-term management of paddlefish in Nebraska and across the entire Mississippi River Basin.  Tag recovery is laborious and expensive task.  Anglers can assist us by turning in the paddles of harvested paddlefish, allowing us to examine many hundreds more paddlefish for tags than would be otherwise possible.

If you harvest a paddlefish during the archery or snagging seasons, please cut off the last 8 inches of the paddle and turn it in at one of the collection sites posted at the Missouri River boat ramps.  Why is it worth your effort to turn in a paddle?  Nebraska and South Dakota have based their harvest quota of 1,600 paddlefish per year on data collected exclusively from our joint section of the Missouri River.  Because data on paddlefish movement in and out of this river reach has not been available in the past, this study could provide the sound scientific data required to raise the quota.  Remember, any paddlefish has the potential to be carrying a tag.


Goal

  • Conduct a basinwide stock assessment of paddlefish

  • Document their distribution, movements, extent of harvest and exploitation by stock

  • Make observations of their habitat use in Mississippi River Basin mainstem rivers


Background

Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA) is an organization of Mississippi River Basin states and their cooperating entities who have agreed to develop efforts to improve the management of interjurisdictional fisheries resources of the Mississippi River Basin.  The association, formed in 1991, has developed a strategic plan for the management of paddlefish and sturgeon species and have begun implementation of that plan.  A major component of the plan is to improve the paddlefish information base.

The paddlefish's historical distribution covered most of the larger rivers of the Mississippi River Basin, but little is known about its present distribution, movements or habitats.  For example, there is concern that fish being harvested in one state may, in fact, have been produced far away in another state or river where the species may be listed as protected.  Such information is essential to develop appropriate management measures to protect and restore the species.

MICRA has developed a special tagging system and is coordinating a multi-state, multi-year effort to assess paddlefish stocks in the basin and document their habitat use and movements on the Missouri River and between states and rivers across the basin.

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