Age-at-maturity estimates for atlantic coast female striped bass

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This study was undertaken to estimate the percentage of mature female striped bass Morone saxatilis present in each age-class during annual coastal feeding migration. Migratory striped bass (N = 302) were sampled in coastal Rhode Island waters during spring (May-June) and fall (September-November) from 1985 to 1987. Stocks were identified by analysis of morphometric characters and isoelectric focusing of eye-lens proteins. Histological sections of ovarian tissue were used to categorize maturity state. Fish were considered mature if a class of oocytes measuring at least 150 m and containing cytoplasmic inclusions was found in the ovarian sections. All females whose age at next potential spawning was 7 and older were mature. Our empirical observations indicated that 12% of fish in age-class 4, 34% of fish in age-class 5, and 77% of fish in age-class 6 were mature. The estimate of the proportion of mature fish in age-class 5 differs significantly from that of Merriman (1941), who also examined coastal migrants. No significant differences were found in maturity estimates of fish from stocks of different origin. © 1995 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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Transactions of the American Fisheries Society