Stocking Southern Flounder

Shane Bonnot, hatchery biologist at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, looks over one of several flounder brood stock tanks where fertilized eggs will be recovered.

Shane Bonnot, hatchery biologist at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, looks over one of several flounder brood stock tanks where fertilized eggs will be recovered.

This is Passport to Texas

Spotted sea trout, redfish and southern flounder are the top three popular sportfish. Sea trout and redfish populations are stable, but not so for Southern Flounder.

We’ve had a slow, but stead, decrease in flounder populations throughout the coast of Texas. It’s been worse in some bays than it has in others. But it’s just been a slow decline.

David Abrego oversees the hatchery program at Sea Center Texas. Data suggests fewer females, over fishing, and loss due to shrimp bycatch are some of the main issues affecting flounder. Coastal hatcheries are tasked with helping boost the Southern Flounder populations.

The whole point of the stocking enhancement program is to supplement the natural population with fish.

Former stocking team member, Shane Bonnot, says there’s a learning curve with flounder.

Flounder is totally different than redfish and trout; it’s a whole new ballgame. So, we’re at the beginning stages of learning how to culture this fish.

The process begins with capturing male brooders to fertilize the eggs. And it’s not easy to do.

You have so many factors that can go against you. Whether it’s the wind, or a strong tide. And of course, visibility is not optimal.

They breed healthy males with females at the hatchery, and after three months, they release thousands of flounder fingerlings into the bays to supplement the wild population…for your angling pleasure.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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