Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Comments: Robison and Buchanan (1988) reported that the population in Arkansas has declined drastically during the last 40 years and that recent confirmed records are few (typically large ones, perhaps indicating a decline in reproduction or recruitment). Formerly there was a significant commercial and sport fishery, but now the species is rarely captured. Historically of statewide distribution in Louisiana (Douglas 1974) but now declining in abundance (Bobby Reed, pers. comm., 1999). In Alabama, Mettee et al. (1996) noted that the species has become rare in inland sites in recent years. Small individuals (18-30 inches TL) were found (date not specified, but presumably recently) in brackish water in the Mobile Delta, indicating the occurrence of at least some recruitment. In Missouri, Pflieger (1997) described evidence that numerous specimens had been collected in the Missouri section of the Mississippi River, but he knew of no records of this species in Missouri more recent than 1965. Historically rare in Illinois (Smith 1979), with no confirmed recent records. Known historically from the Ohio River in Ohio (Trautman 1981), with no confirmed recent records. A drastic decline evidently has occurred in Tennessee, where the species may be extirpated (Etnier and Starnes 1993). Commercial fishermen report occasional captures, but the identity of these fishes is questionable (Etnier and Starnes 1993). In Florida, the species is widely distributed in the panhandle, but the trend is unknown (Gilbert 1992). Populations may be declining in some Gulf Coastal areas where this gar remained common until recent years (Etnier and Starnes 1993).