Peacock Bass No Threat to Florida Largemouth

Florida Today - March 10, 1996 - by Bill Sargent

Despite of some early fears, exotic Butterfly Peacock bass are having no effect on Largemouth bass in urban canals of South Florida. More than ten years after the first South American Peacocks were stocked in the canals, biologist are finding largemouths living right along side the exotics. Paul Shafland, director of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Non-native Fish Lab at Boca Raton, said the two are compatible.

Our data indicates there are more and larger Peacocks and Largemouth bass in southern Florida canals than we even anticipated, Shafland said. This is especially noteworthy given the high fishing pressure, man-made nature of the of the habitat and urban location of the canals. Peacocks were first placed in Dade County canals in October 1984 to help control an over abundance of tilapia and to increase fishing opportunities for urban anglers.

Today, the south Florida Peacock bass fishery generates US$4.9 million annually to the local economy, Shafland said. Electro-shock surveys in six Broward and Dade canals last fall showed healthy populations of both fish in most canals. The survey measured 614 Peacocks and 577 Largemouths. The average length of Peacock was 13.7 inches and the average for Largemouth was an almost identical 13.8 inches. The longest Largemouth was 23 inches and the largest Peacock was 21 inches. Biologist measured the first 100 Peacocks and the first 100 Largemouths that were longer than 10 inches. After being stunned by special electrical equipment, all the fish were realeased unharmed.

Above clip was kindly sent to me by Dave Fortner of Florida.

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