Alligator Gar, Conservation with Teeth - Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

Uploaded by TexasParksWildlife on 05.10.2012

[Kris] Man, they are cool. They are really cool. They look prehistoric.
[Dan] Seven foot tail can give a pretty good whack.
[Kris] But the cool thing about it is they really are a pretty docile creature.
[Dan] Obviously you have to watch for the teeth.
[Kris] You won’t see them outwardly snapping at you trying to get at you with the teeth,
they are just thrashing around, just like any fish if you put them on the bottom of
a boat outside of water, they just simply want to get back in the water…but never
bite or anything like that.
Historically, alligator gar have been considered both by anglers and by managers as essentially
a trash fish. No one really cared about them, no one really fished for them. So the managers
didn’t really spend time collecting data either.
[Narration] But things have changed. And this large, long-lived
species has caught the angler’s eye.
[Dan] The increase in popularity obviously is putting greater pressure on our populations.
Texas is home to the best populations of alligator gar left in the United States and we want
to keep them that way.
[Narration] Thanks to funding from the Wildlife and Sport
Fish Restoration programs, biologists are now collecting data and tagging alligator
gar so they can track them from year to year.
[Dan] We know that alligator gar can live longer than 50 years. They can get huge.
[Narration] Alligator gar are the largest of the four
species of gar in Texas. There’s the Spotted gar, Longnose gar and Shortnose gar as well.
Documentation shows that Alligator gar have weighed over 300 pounds and are popular fish
for anglers. While anglers can keep one alligator gar per day, catch and release is preferred.
[Angler] Off he goes.
So we are trying to collect as much information as we can to try to protect, conserve, manage.
To ensure the resource is available today, tomorrow, and a hundred years from now.
[Narration] Biologists have reason to care. A similar
large species, the Lake Sturgeon in the Great Lakes, was commercially overfished to one-percent
of its historic abundance in the early 1900s. They’re vulnerable because like gar, it
takes them years to reach reproductive maturity.
[Dan] It takes a very long time for a species with this type of life history to make a comeback
when the populations become depleted. We don’t want to get in a situation where we have to
react to over harvest.
[Kris] I’ve fished a lot and I’ve never fished for alligator gar but, I tell you what,
after working with them, I would definitely fish for alligator gar and I recommend anyone
to do that. It’s a tremendous angling opportunity for folks to explore.
[Narration] For Texas Parks and Wildlife, this is Abe