Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2019


A fishery and its components are an integral part of society and contribute not only economically, but also socially and physically to the health and well-being of many countries. There are approximately 12.5 million people who are employed in fishery-related careers, and according to the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, there were over 33.1 million people who fished recreationally. To successfully manage a fish population, one must have a well-rounded knowledge about the species and the environment it inhabits. There is very little previous research done on the growth of Aplodinotus grunniens, otherwise known as freshwater drum (FWD), making it a complex species to manage with insufficient knowledge. The objective of this study was to establish an age structure and growth patterns for 145 FWD in the Red River of the North, Manitoba, Canada. This information will contribute to the knowledge base of FWD for fish biologists and managers as they hope to better understand different dimensions of a fishery that may inhibit growth and age structure. Using a calcified bone structure in the inner part of FWD head, called the otolith, were used to age the fish by counting the number of annuli the otolith presents and back-calculating the length of the fish at each age using the Dahl-Lea equation. The results were then analyzed and compared to two sample populations from Lake Erie and ancient fossilized FWD from an ancient Indian Middens. In conclusion, the FWD in the Red River measured much larger than FWD in Lake Erie and were much older, indicating that they grew far slower. Overall, the fossilized ancient FWD were much larger than the drum sampled in the Red River. With these results, a better understanding of the aging and growth may contribute to the knowledge base of FWD to fish biologists and managers.