Texas Parks & Wildlife rep says size limit on alligator gar prevents overfishing
EAST TEXAS, (KTRE) - The alligator gar, a fish that can live more than 50 years and weighs upwards of 300 pounds, is protected from overfishing in Texas.
“It’s the largest freshwater fish that we have in our state, that’s a very interesting very cool fish to protect just for that reason,” Jake Norman with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said.
This unusual fish is the longest-living freshwater species in the state, making it especially vulnerable to overfishing.
“They don’t exist in a lot of the country, the Mississippi River drainage I believe, the Trinity River here and some other small basins are where they really still exist in the greatest abundance. So, if you lose a large chunk of your population, it can be a lot harder for that species to recover,” said Norman.
Norman said because of the alligator gar’s long lifespan, they’re making efforts to keep the historic fish in Texas waters for years to come.
“Not only can you only harvest one per day, without a special permit, that fish has to be 48 inches or less so 4 foot or less, which truthfully again describing how big alligator gar can get, isn’t that big of a fish, we’re really protecting very heavily those larger fish,” said Norman.
In addition to their long life, alligator gar help maintain healthy numbers of many other species. Longtime alligator gar fishing guide Kirk Kirkland said they’re one of his favorite fish to catch.
“Alligator gar, everyone calls them the tarpon of freshwater because they jump a lot, they have a lot of teeth, they’re awesome fish to catch because like I said a little one is 25 or 30 pounds and I enjoy watching people catch really big fish,” said Kirkland.
All alligator gar harvested from the public waters of the state other than falcon international reservoir must be reported within 24 hours to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
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