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Efficacy of otoliths and first dorsal spines for preliminary age and growth determination in Atlantic Tripletails

March 1, 2018

The Atlantic Tripletail Lobotes surinamensis is a popular sport fish for which age and growth data are scarce in general and nonexistent for Georgia (GA), USA, waters. These data are necessary to ensure that management regulations are adequate to protect this species, especially given its popularity as a sport fish. We evaluated whether otoliths and spines were suitable for determining the estimated age (hereafter, “age”) and growth rates of Atlantic Tripletails, and we ascertained whether one method was more accurate than the other. Atlantic Tripletails were sampled by angling and trawling during March 30–August 10, 2009, and March 14–August 6, 2010, in nearshore GA waters of the Atlantic Ocean. During the study, 243 Atlantic Tripletails were captured and sampled for aging structures. Sagittal otoliths and the first dorsal spine were removed from each fish and used to estimate the age and growth rate. Mean differences in TL at age for spine and otolith data were evaluated with ANOVA. Estimated ages for males and females ranged from 1 to 5 years based on otoliths and spines. Both otolith and spine mean TLs at ages 1 and 2 were significantly different from each other as well as all other age‐classes, whereas mean TLs for ages 3–5 were not significantly different. Differences in Atlantic Tripletail TL among the otolith‐ and spine‐derived age‐classes were not significant. Each method used to age Atlantic Tripletails had advantages and disadvantages. Otoliths had higher initial reader agreement than spines, although agreement between the structures was 84.1%. However, otoliths require sacrifice of the fish, whereas a spine can be taken without sacrificing the fish. The lack of concrete life history data and population estimates suggests that when feasible, nonlethal aging methods would be preferred over lethal methods to ensure the survival of Atlantic Tripletail populations.

Publication Year 2018
Title Efficacy of otoliths and first dorsal spines for preliminary age and growth determination in Atlantic Tripletails
DOI 10.1002/mcf2.10008
Authors Russell T. Parr, Robert B. Bringolf, Cecil A. Jennings
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science
Index ID 70196831
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta