Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Atlantic croaker, Micropogonias undulatus, collected from commercial catches in Chesapeake Bay and in Virginia and North Carolina coastal waters during 1988-1991 (n=1,967) were aged from transverse otolith sections. Ages 1-8 were recorded, but eight-year-old fish were rare. Marginal increment analysis showed that for ages 1-7, annuli are formed once a year during the period April-May. Otolith age readings were precise: >99% agreement within and between readers. Observed lengths-at-age were highly variable and growth rate decreased after the first year. Despite the high variability in sizes-at-age, observed lengths for ages 1-7 fit the von Bertalanffy growth model (r2=0.99; n=753) well. No differences in growth were found between sexes. Total annual instantaneous mortality (Z) estimated from maximum age and from a catch curve of Chesapeake Bay commercial catches ranged from 0.55 to 0.63. Our results do not indicate the existence of a group of larger, older Atlantic croaker in Chesapeake Bay compared with more southern waters and suggest that the hypothesis of a basically different population dynamics pattern for this species north and south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, should be reevaluated.
Barbieri, Luiz R.; Chittenden, Mark E.; and Jones, Cynthia M., Age, Growth, And Mortality Of Atlantic Croaker, Micropogonias-Undulatus, In The Chesapeake Bay-Region, With A Discussion Of Apparent Geographic Changes In Population-Dynamics (1994). Fishery Bulletin, 92(1), 1-12.