Title

Age and Growth of Hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus) off Southeast Florida

Location

Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center Facility

Start

1-30-2018 1:15 PM

End

1-30-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus) is an economically important, reef-associated species, which supports a moderate commercial and recreational fishery in the western Atlantic. In recent years, L. maximus has become of high interest to fisheries managers due to the overwhelming evidence of overfishing. In areas of high fishing pressure for L. maximus, such as the Florida Keys and inshore areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, overall growth rates decreased and mortality increased. As a result, significant revisions to the management of L. maximus were recently implemented (08/31/2017) and a ten year stock recovery plan was initiated. The primary objective of this study was to determine age and growth (via sagittal otoliths) of L. maximus in southeast Florida, where a paucity of data exist, and make comparisons to previous findings from other geographic areas. The secondary objective was to compare L. maximus by reef tract in southeast Florida. In this study, over 325 hogfish were collected from 2016-2017 and aged using otolith analysis. The findings indicate that, despite the higher human population in Broward County, the observed growth rate was higher than the Florida Keys. Significant separation at the 95% confidence level was found between all regions except for the eastern Gulf and the Bahamas. The average maximum fork length increased, from the Florida Keys (336mm) to southeast Florida (414mm). In addition, growth rates of hogfish collected from different reef tracts along the coast were significantly different. In contrast with prior studies, the most accessible reef tract (ca. 4-6m deep) had a significantly higher growth rate than the outermost reef (ca. 15-25m deep). Results showed a decrease in maximum fork length with reef depth (857mm, 420mm, 352mm) and an increase in mean age (age 3, 4, 5), maximum age (age 9,10,12), and survival rate (42%, 65%, 73%) with reef depth. This study demonstrates the importance of factoring in sample location when determining growth rates of a species, which may influence future fishery stock assessments the development of new fishery regulations for L. maximus.

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Jan 30th, 1:15 PM Jan 30th, 1:30 PM

Age and Growth of Hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus) off Southeast Florida

Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center Facility

Hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus) is an economically important, reef-associated species, which supports a moderate commercial and recreational fishery in the western Atlantic. In recent years, L. maximus has become of high interest to fisheries managers due to the overwhelming evidence of overfishing. In areas of high fishing pressure for L. maximus, such as the Florida Keys and inshore areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico, overall growth rates decreased and mortality increased. As a result, significant revisions to the management of L. maximus were recently implemented (08/31/2017) and a ten year stock recovery plan was initiated. The primary objective of this study was to determine age and growth (via sagittal otoliths) of L. maximus in southeast Florida, where a paucity of data exist, and make comparisons to previous findings from other geographic areas. The secondary objective was to compare L. maximus by reef tract in southeast Florida. In this study, over 325 hogfish were collected from 2016-2017 and aged using otolith analysis. The findings indicate that, despite the higher human population in Broward County, the observed growth rate was higher than the Florida Keys. Significant separation at the 95% confidence level was found between all regions except for the eastern Gulf and the Bahamas. The average maximum fork length increased, from the Florida Keys (336mm) to southeast Florida (414mm). In addition, growth rates of hogfish collected from different reef tracts along the coast were significantly different. In contrast with prior studies, the most accessible reef tract (ca. 4-6m deep) had a significantly higher growth rate than the outermost reef (ca. 15-25m deep). Results showed a decrease in maximum fork length with reef depth (857mm, 420mm, 352mm) and an increase in mean age (age 3, 4, 5), maximum age (age 9,10,12), and survival rate (42%, 65%, 73%) with reef depth. This study demonstrates the importance of factoring in sample location when determining growth rates of a species, which may influence future fishery stock assessments the development of new fishery regulations for L. maximus.