Evidence of underestimation of European hake growth in the Bay of Biscay, and its relationship with bias in the agreed method of age estimation

Type Article
Date 2006-11
Language English
Author(s) de Pontual HeleneORCID1, Groison Anne-Laure1, Pineiro Carmen2, Bertignac MichelORCID3
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, LASAA, STH, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Ctr Oceanog Vigo, Inst Espanol Oceanog, Vigo 36200, Spain.
3 : IFREMER, LBH, STH, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
Source ICES Journal of Marine Science (1054-3139) (Elsevier), 2006-11 , Vol. 63 , N. 9 , P. 1674-1681
DOI 10.1016/j.icesjms.2006.07.007
WOS© Times Cited 89
Keyword(s) Tagging, Otolith, Merluccius merluccius, Growth, European hake, Age validation, Age estimation method, Age
Abstract In 2002, a pilot experiment on hake tagging was carried out using methodology specifically developed to catch and handle fish in,good condition. By the end of 2005, 36 hake and five tags had been returned to the laboratory (a 3.1% return rate) with a maximum time at liberty of 1066 days. The somatic growth of the recoveries proved to be twofold higher than that expected from published von Bertalanffy growth functions for the species in the Bay of Biscay. The growth underestimation was related to age overestimation, as demonstrated by two independent analyses. The first was based on a blind interpretation of marked otoliths conducted independently by two European experts involved in the routine age estimation of hake. The result shows that the age estimates were neither accurate (inconsistent with oxytetracycline mark positions) nor precise. The second approach compared the predicted otolith growth with the observed growth, and the discrepancy between the two data sets was large. Both types of analyses invalidate the internationally agreed age estimation method and demonstrate a need for further research. Although based on limited data, the study highlights the need to improve biological knowledge of the species in order to improve assessment and management advice. It also strengthens the argument for age validation. (c) 2006 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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