Age, Growth and Reproduction of Coryphaena hippurus (Linnaeus, 1758) in Maltese Waters, Central Mediterranean
SCHEMBRI, P. J.
European Social Fund under the Strategic Educational Pathways Scholarship Scheme (Malta)
Age, growth and reproduction of the dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus Linnaeus, 1758 collected from the Central Mediterranean in the period 2004-2010 by the traditional Maltese fish aggregating devices (FAD) and surface longline fisheries were studied. The a and b parameters of the length-weight relationship for fish 11-142 cm fork length (FL) (n = 4042) were determined as a = 0.018 and 0.022 with b = 2.85 and 2.79, for males and females respectively. The counting of annual increments from dorsal spines of >65 cm FL dolphinfish at X25 magnification (n = 47) permitting an age reading resolution in years , and the counting of daily increments from sagittal otoliths of <65 cm FL dolphinfish at X400 magnification (n = 583) permitting an age reading resolution in days, were estimated; the von Bertalanffy growth model applied to these fish gave the following parameters: L∞ = 107.8 cm FL and 120.2 cm FL, and K = 1.9 yr-1 and 1.56 yr-1, for males and females respectively. The maximum age observed was 2 years. Size at 50% maturity for fish 10-131 cm FL (n = 1376) was 58.9 cm FL and 62.5 cm FL for males and females, respectively. The sex ratio for the fish sampled from the FAD fishery (10.5-131 cm FL) was 1:1.54 (M:F) and for dolphinfish sampled from the surface longline fishery (91-130 cm FL) was 1:0.76 (M:F). Back-calculated hatch dates from age-0 dolphinfish (n = 518) suggested that spawning occurs from June to September with the highest levels in June. This study is the first to use dorsal spines to determine the age of adult dolphinfish.
Coryphaena hippurus, Malta, age determination, von Bertalanffy, growth model, otoliths, dorsal spines.