Age validation, growth modeling, and mortality estimates for striped trumpeter (Latris lineata) from southeastern Australia: making the most of patchy data


Tracey, Sean R., and Jeremy M. Lyle
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Age estimates for striped trumpeter (Latris lineata) from Tasmanian waters were produced by counting annuli on the transverse section of sagittal otoliths and were validated by comparison of growth with known-age individuals and modal progression of a strong recruitment pulse. Estimated ages ranged from one to 43 years; fast growth rates were observed for the first five years. Minimal sexual dimorphism was shown to exist between length, weight, and growth characteristics of striped trumpeter. Seasonal growth variability was strong in individuals up to at least age four, and growth rates peaked approximately one month after the observed peak in sea surface temperature. A modified two-phase von Bertalanffy growth function was fitted to the length-at-age data, and the transition between growth phases was linked to apparent changes in physiological and life history traits, including offshore movement as fish approach maturity. The two-phase curve was found to represent the mean length at age in the data better than the standard von Bertalanffy growth function. Total mortality was estimated by using catch curve analysis based on the standard and two-phase von Bertalanffy growth functions, and estimates of natural mortality were calculated by using two empirical models, one based on longevity and the other based on the parameters Lāˆž and k from both growth functions. The interactions between an inshore gillnet fishery targeting predominately juveniles and an offshore hook fishery targeting predominately adults highlight the need to use a precautionary approach when developing harvest strategies.