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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 
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Tuesday, January 29 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
(CANCELLED) (FISHERIES: BIG RIVERS) Paddlefish Exploitation and Movements Within the Mississippi River Basin

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AUTHORS: Thomas Devine, Southeast Missouri State University; Sara Tripp, Missouri Department of Conservation; Nick Kramer, Kansas Fish & Wildlife Division

ABSTRACT: The American Paddlefish Polyodon spathula is an ancient species native to the Mississippi River and its larger tributaries. This species exhibits a unique combination of morphology and life history characteristics that leaves them vulnerable to negative impacts caused by river modification and the potential for overexploitation. This has led to population declines in portions of the historic range. Concern regarding unknown exploitation rates from sport and commercial fisheries has increased in recent decades and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species is now seeking information from state agencies regarding the sustainability of commercially harvested Paddlefish Populations. The Missouri Department of Conservation is addressing this through the implementation of a five year study on exploitation of Paddlefish in the Mississippi River. The first two years of this project found that minimal exploitation of Paddlefish along Missouri’s eastern border with an exploitation estimate of 4.01% (SE=0.02). The third and fourth year of this study we focused on tagging more paddlefish with jaw bands and transmitters to further evaluate current exploitation rate and better understand paddlefish movement patterns in the Mississippi River and its tributaries. We found that paddlefish are moving great distances and crossed many regulatory boundaries. Despite low exploitation rate estimates, when information from this study is combined with previous work, a precautionary adjustment of regulations is advised to protect Paddlefish through maturation and ensure sustainability. In addition, Paddlefish regulations should be assessed across the entire Mississippi watershed, as regulations differ within and between regulatory and state boundaries. A combination of population monitoring (e.g. exploitation and population dynamics) and telemetry efforts have the potential to help inform future basin wide management approaches.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm EST

Attendees (2)