Effects of the big freeze?.

bumble54

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I saw this and wondered, are Tilapia considered vermin in the USA?, as an introduced species. I've been looking but can't find any information of other species being affected. Does anyone know any more about this?.
 

sasquatch7

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I dont think they are as a whole but in some locations they may be . That guy didnt seem to care for them but people in Tucson love them .
 

karstopo

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Mozambique Tilapia have been introduced into Texas for aquatic vegetation control, I believe initially in private ponds and lakes. Supposed to die once water reaches 50 degrees, but they are likely a little more cold hardy than that. The private lake I live on once intentionally introduced Tilapia for vegetation control and the fish were billed to die every winter and not breed therefore requiring reintroducing annually. In reality, most winters few if any tilapia die and they are rapid breeders. Prior to a cold outbreak in the winter of 2017-2018 their numbers in our lake had skyrocketed and were causing a big decline in the native fish, especially bluegills/sunfish types, but even largemouth bass. That winter’s extra cold temperatures wiped out thousands of tilapia and the bluegill have mostly recovered, but the tilapia numbers were on a steady rise too This winter’s cold killed a good number of tilapia in the lake, but not all of them. Tilapia aren’t much for taking lures or flies. Bigger ones will sometimes eat nymph patterns or woolly buggers. I don’t like them and wished tilapia never got introduced.

But, a much more significant fish kill due to the recent record cold happened along the Texas Coast. Looks pretty grim as videos and pictures continue to roll in of stacks of dead trophy speckled trout littering shorelines along with and among so many other species. Looks to be at the worst along the middle and lower coasts where waters tend to be shallow and cool quickly dooming fish that cannot tolerate water in the 30s or even the low 40s for long. Numbers of fish lost and assessments are still be tabulated, but likely millions of fish have died, with speckled trout being hit the hardest among the most popular and sought after texas saltwater gamefish.

Texas has had these massive cold water kills in the past, the worst in my lifetime happened in 1983 and 1989. TP&W took measures then to change limits and such to help the fish recover and will likely do so soon once they get a handle on the extent of the situation.
 

bumble54

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Mozambique Tilapia have been introduced into Texas for aquatic vegetation control, I believe initially in private ponds and lakes. Supposed to die once water reaches 50 degrees, but they are likely a little more cold hardy than that. The private lake I live on once intentionally introduced Tilapia for vegetation control and the fish were billed to die every winter and not breed therefore requiring reintroducing annually. In reality, most winters few if any tilapia die and they are rapid breeders. Prior to a cold outbreak in the winter of 2017-2018 their numbers in our lake had skyrocketed and were causing a big decline in the native fish, especially bluegills/sunfish types, but even largemouth bass. That winter’s extra cold temperatures wiped out thousands of tilapia and the bluegill have mostly recovered, but the tilapia numbers were on a steady rise too This winter’s cold killed a good number of tilapia in the lake, but not all of them. Tilapia aren’t much for taking lures or flies. Bigger ones will sometimes eat nymph patterns or woolly buggers. I don’t like them and wished tilapia never got introduced.

But, a much more significant fish kill due to the recent record cold happened along the Texas Coast. Looks pretty grim as videos and pictures continue to roll in of stacks of dead trophy speckled trout littering shorelines along with and among so many other species. Looks to be at the worst along the middle and lower coasts where waters tend to be shallow and cool quickly dooming fish that cannot tolerate water in the 30s or even the low 40s for long. Numbers of fish lost and assessments are still be tabulated, but likely millions of fish have died, with speckled trout being hit the hardest among the most popular and sought after texas saltwater gamefish.

Texas has had these massive cold water kills in the past, the worst in my lifetime happened in 1983 and 1989. TP&W took measures then to change limits and such to help the fish recover and will likely do so soon once they get a handle on the extent of the situation.

I saw some reports of coastal fish kills and was quite shocked at the scale, I had assumed the fish would move out to warmer waters but maybe it all happened too quickly for them, a huge loss to the sport but I'm sure nature will bounce back, eventually.
 

karstopo

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Fish are reluctant to relocate to deeper water or the deep water isn’t very close by. Speckled trout, not really a trout, might try to ride out the cold weather in a relatively shallow area and then get metabolically trapped as the shallow water chills so quickly. East Matagorda Bay near me is famous for trophy speckled trout and had a major speckled trout kill.That body of saltwater is around 15,000 hectares or 37,000 surface acres and is only 2 meters deep at best. Even if the fish did make it to the Intracoastal waterway that‘s much deeper there, there‘s a chance the barge traffic churned up the water enough to make the depth meaningless. There were frozen over tidal saltwater lakes and even ice on some of the more shallow bays. Speckled Trout are doomed in water that stays a few degrees above freezing for very long.

But, like the article says trout are quick to repopulate and things could be back to normal in 3 years or so. These aren’t particularly long lived fish, 10-12 years is about it for female, less so for males. A larger female will spawn up to a million eggs per spawn and might do that several times a season.

Redfish apparently didn’t die off in anything like the number of the trout did. Plus, all the breeder sized redfish were offshore or at the passes in deeper water. Most every redfish in the shallow bays in Texas is a juvenile. Redfish live much longer than trout and by age 3-4, start to make their final move out of the bays and into the gulf and passes.
 
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