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Age determination, growth and mortality of Gerres subfasciatus Cuvier, 1830 in southeast Australia

Gray, Charles A.
Journal of applied ichthyology 2019 v.35 no.3 pp. 729-737
Gerres, age determination, age structure, females, fisheries, lakes, littoral zone, longevity, males, mortality, otoliths, seagrasses, spawning, Australia
Commercial beach‐seine (30–50 mm cod‐end mesh) catches of Gerres subfasciatus in Lake Macquarie southeast Australia were sampled monthly between December 2000 and April 2002 to investigate species age, growth and mortality characteristics using sectioned sagittal otoliths. Inclusion of fishery‐independent length data of young‐of‐the year collected from littoral seagrass beds with fine meshed beach seines augmented growth analyses. Fifty otoliths each month (total 448 female and 402 male) were examined with sections displaying alternating opaque and translucent zonation. Formation of otolith opaque zones occurred annually between August and December as determined by monthly marginal increment analyses. Spawning occurred between October and February, and a universal birth date of 1 December was assigned that allowed counts of opaque zones to be converted to age estimates in years and months (decimal ages). The von Bertalanffy growth function identified that both genders grew fast for their initial 2 years, but thereafter slowed. Females grew faster, had a greater mean fork length‐at‐age, estimated L∞ and an observed greater maximum fork length in samples compared to males. Nevertheless, observed longevity was 10⁺ years for both genders. Commercial catches of both genders were dominated by the 2⁺ and 3⁺ year age classes. Catch curve analyses identified the instantaneous rate of total annual mortality to be ~0.8 and an exploitation rate of <0.5 for both genders. The data form a basis for developing assessment and management strategies of G. subfasciatus fisheries.