Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Age validation of the blue shark (Prionace glauca) in the eastern Pacific Ocean

R. J. David Wells A B D , Natalie Spear A and Suzanne Kohin C

A Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University at Galveston, 1001 Texas Clipper Road, Galveston, TX 77553, USA.

B Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.

C Fisheries Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 8901 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: wellsr@tamug.edu

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16054
Submitted: 26 February 2016  Accepted: 8 August 2016   Published online: 23 September 2016

Abstract

The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is subjected to high levels of fishery catch and by-catch worldwide; thus, knowledge of their productivity and population status is vital, yet basic assumptions of band-pair deposition rates in vertebrae used for age and growth models are being made without direct validation studies in the Pacific Ocean. As such, the purpose of the present study was to validate vertebral band-deposition rates of blue sharks tagged and recaptured in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Vertebrae of 26 blue sharks marked with oxytetracycline (OTC) were obtained from tag–recapture activities to determine timing of centrum growth-band deposition. Results from band counts distal to the OTC mark on each vertebra indicated that a single band pair (1 translucent and 1 opaque) is formed per year for blue sharks ranging from 1 to 8 years of age. Length–frequency modal analysis was also used to obtain growth estimates from a dataset spanning 26 years of research and commercial catch data. Results provide support for annual band-pair deposition in blue shark vertebrae and will aid in future blue shark age and growth studies in the Pacific Ocean.

Additional keywords: length frequency, OTC, oxytetracycline, vertebrae.


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