Length and age at maturity of female petrale sole (Eopsetta jordani) determined from samples collected prior to spawning aggregation


Hannah, Robert W, Steven J. Parker, and Erica L. Fruh
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The problem of bias in female petrale sole age and length-at-maturity relationships caused by sampling from spawning aggregations was investigated. Samples were collected prior to aggregation, and histological methods were used to determine maturity status. Mature and immature fish were classified by inspecting oocytes for the presence of yolk in September, when substantial divergence in yolked and unyolked oocyte diameters had been observed. Comparison of macroscopic and microscopic assessment of maturity showed that maturity status cannot be determined accurately by using macroscopic inspection during the summer. Female petrale sole from the central Oregon coast were 50% mature at 33 cm and 5 years of age. Comparison of data from our study with data used in recent petrale sole stock assessments showed that both sampling bias and the use of samples from seasons when status cannot be accurately determined have likely caused errors in fitted maturity relationships.