Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Weakfish, Cynoscion regalis, were collected in 1989-93 from commercial catches in the Chesapeake Bay region, and special collections of large fish were made in Delaware Bay. Ages were based on sectioned otoliths. Most weakfish were 200-600 mm TL and ages 1-4 years. Maximum age was 17 years from a 1985 Delaware Bay fish. Maximum current observed ages were 12 years in Chesapeake Bay and 11 years in Delaware Bay. However, fish older than age 6 were rare in both areas. There was no evidence that Delaware Bay fish reached a larger maximum size or maximum age than Chesapeake Bay fish. Although weakfish size was a poor predictor of age, weakfish growth was well described by the von Bertalanffy growth model (r(2)=0.98, n=854). Maximum size and age has fluctuated in both Chesapeake and Delaware Bays over the past thirty years. In both areas the maximum size of fish, based on citation records, greatly increased from the late 1960's until the mid-1980's, as did the numbers of these large fish. These fluctuations appear to be due to a series of strong year classes, beginning in the late 1960's.
Lowerre-Barbieri, Susan K.; Chittenden, Mark E.; and Barbieri, Luiz R., Age And Growth Of Weakfish, Cynoscion Regalis, In The Chesapeake Bay-Region With A Discussion Of Historical Changes In Maximum Size (1995). Fishery Bulletin, 93(4), 643-656.