Evaluation of Alternatives to Rainbow Trout for Creation of Put-and-Take Fisheries in Alberta

Preface (2023)

At the request of the Government of Alberta (GOA), Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) evaluated the suitability and availability of commonly stocked sport fish in North America as an alternative to Rainbow Trout for creation of put-and-take fisheries in 2020/21. Following our evaluation, Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) was selected as the most promising alternative, subsequently modified to a Channel Catfish x Blue Catfish (I. punctatus I. furcatus) hybrid. Catfish of the genus Ictalurus do not currently occur within Alberta so their stocking to provincial waterbodies required careful consideration. To assist in the evaluation, we completed a review of the biology, ecology, management, and culture of catfish in North America. In 2021/22, we continued to gather information in support of the evaluation as requested by provincial managers. The evaluation was completed in 2022/23 and included a detailed assessment of ecological risk, as well as consideration of the management and social implications of stocking catfish. Although the final decision rested with the GOA, ACA participated in the review and was conditionally approved for the introduction of sterile hybrid Channel Catfish to Alberta in August 2022. However, after careful assessment of the logistical and financial challenges associated with meeting the conditions of approval, ACA decided to not proceed with importation. This report summarizes the results of our evaluation of alternatives to Rainbow Trout for creation of put-and-take fisheries which provided the rationale for ACA’s proposal to stock catfish in Alberta.

Download PDF