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May 8, 2006
First Operation World Record Results Encouraging
ATHENS, Texas — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries biologists were pleasantly surprised recently when they went electrofishing for tagged Budweiser ShareLunker offspring in three research lakes.
They found fish—lots of fish. “The most exciting thing from these preliminary samples is that ShareLunker offspring were collected at high rates,” said Inland Fisheries biologist Michael Baird. “This bodes well for the age-4 sample slated to be completed in the spring of 2009.”
TPWD fisheries biologists are monitoring the growth rate of stocked Budweiser ShareLunker offspring as compared to resident “wild” fish in the reservoirs. The average ShareLunker offspring was 7.1 inches long and weighed 2.7 ounces. The average wild fish averaged 5.3 inches long and weighed 1.2 ounces.
“Because the ShareLunker offspring were raised at the hatchery, their initial size was larger,” pointed out Tim Bister, one of the project biologists. “We’ll have to consider this difference when we make growth comparisons in the future.”
The fish were sampled from Lake Raven, in Huntsville State Park; Mill Creek Reservoir, in Canton; and Meridian State Park Lake. The valuable Budweiser ShareLunker offspring were produced from female largemouth bass contributed by anglers to the program in 2005 and were spawned and reared at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, home of the ShareLunker program.
Operation World Record is an attempt to produce the next world record largemouth bass through a program of selective breeding using Budweiser ShareLunkers with pure Florida largemouth genes. Research to evaluate the growth rates of these selectively bred fish is ongoing.
The Budweiser ShareLunker program is made possible through support from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Since 1991, Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, has contributed millions of dollars in funding to support conservation causes and fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation programs in Texas.
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