Age, Growth and Mortality of the White Grunt, Haemulonplumierilacepede (Pisces: Pomadasyidae), From North Carolina and South Carolina

Scales and otoliths of the white grunt, Haemulon plumieri, sampled from the North Carolina and South Carolina headboat fishery were examined to determine if they could be used to age the species. Both structures were satisfactory, 76% of the fish examined could be aged by scales and approximately the same percentage by otoliths. Agreement for a given age between otoliths and scales taken from the same fish was 75%. The oldest fish collected was XIII; 589 mm total length. Growth occurred from about mid-March to November. Back-calculated mean lengths ranged from 97mm at end ofyear 1 to 550 at end of year 13. The Bertalanffy equation describing theoretical growth in length is: It = 640 (l e- O.1084 (r + 1.0(7»). Total mortality estimates, based on catch curves from over 5,000 fish, ranged from 37% to 51% varying between years and geographical area. The length-weight relationship is described by the equation W =O. 00001426L'0220; W =O. ooooI201U·0'"' for males, and W =O. ooooI452L"'''' for females.

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