Age estimation and otolith characteristics of an unusually old, red emperor snapper (Lutjanus sebae) captured off the Kimberley coast of north-western Australia

Authors

  • S. J. Newman,

    1. Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia, North Beach, Western Australia, Australia
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  • C. L. Skepper,

    1. Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia, North Beach, Western Australia, Australia
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  • C. B. Wakefield

    1. Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories, Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia, North Beach, Western Australia, Australia
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Author’s address: Stephen J. Newman, Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research, Laboratories, Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia, PO Box 20, North Beach, Western Australia, 6920 Australia.
E-mail: Stephen.Newman@fish.wa.gov.au

Summary

In October 2006, an unusually old, red emperor snapper, Lutjanus sebae, was captured using fish traps off the north coast of Western Australia. Despite being very old the specimen was not exceptionally large, measuring 516 mm fork length. Of particular note was the fact the specimen was female, as female L. sebae do not attain the large sizes at age of male fish. Interpretation of the sectioned sagittal otolith was used to estimate an age of approximately 40 years. This is the oldest recorded age for an individual L. sebae and further contributes towards the knowledge of the demography of this species. The advanced age recorded for this specimen also confirms the low rates of natural mortality for L. sebae and therefore low population productivity and supports the precautionary management arrangements for this species in north-western Australia.

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