A simple chi-square test can be used to analyze recoveries from a paired-release experiment to determine whether differential survival occurs between two groups of fish. The sample size required for analysis is a function of (1) the proportion of fish stocked, (2) the expected proportion at recovery, (3) the level of significance (a) at which the null hypothesis is tested, and (4) the power (1-I?) of the statistical test. Detection of a 20% change from a stocking ratio of 50:50 requires a sample of 172 (I?=0.10; 1-I?=0.80) to 459 (I?=0.01; 1-I?=0.95) fish. Pooling samples from replicate pairs is sometimes an appropriate way to increase statistical precision without increasing numbers stocked or sampling intensity. Summing over time is appropriate if catchability or survival of the two groups of fish does not change relative to each other through time. Twelve pairs of identical groups of yearling lake trout Salvelinus namaycush were marked with coded wire tags and stocked into Lake Ontario. Recoveries of fish at ages 2-8 showed differences of 1-14% from the initial stocking ratios. Mean tag recovery rates were 0.217%, 0.156%, 0.128%, 0.121%, 0.093%, 0.042%, and 0.016% for ages 2-8, respectively. At these rates, stocking 12,100-29,700 fish per group would yield samples of 172-459 fish at ages 2-8 combined.
Additional publication details
Sample size requirements and analysis of tag recoveries for paired releases of lake trout