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Performance and contribution to commercial catches and egg production by restocked Acanthopagrus butcheri (Sparidae) in an estuary

Cottingham, A., Hall, N.G. and Potter, I.C. (2015) Performance and contribution to commercial catches and egg production by restocked Acanthopagrus butcheri (Sparidae) in an estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 164 . pp. 194-203.

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This study has explored whether the restocked fish of a species, which is confined to an estuary, perform as well as its wild stock, and has estimated their contribution to the commercial fishery and egg production. The biological characteristics of the 2001 and 2002 year classes of Acanthopagrus butcheri, which had been cultured and introduced into the Blackwood River in south-western Australia at seven and four months old, respectively, were thus determined from samples collected regularly between 2002 and 2014. The restocked fish could always be distinguished from the wild stock because their otoliths retained the pink colouration of the alizarin complexone with which they had been stained prior to release. Detailed analyses demonstrated the growth and maturity schedules of restocked fish were only slightly inferior to those of the wild stock and the mean gonad weights of the females of these two groups did not differ significantly in any month. As increasing numbers of restocked A. butcheri attained the MLL of 250 mm for retention, their contribution to the commercial fishery increased from 6% in 2005 to 74% in 2010. That contribution subsequently declined to 39% in 2012 and 10% in 2014, due predominantly to the introduction of the very strong 2008 year class in the commercial catches, the first substantial recruitment into the population since 1999. Restocked fish were estimated as contributing ~55% to the eggs produced in 2008, suggesting that substantial numbers of the 2008 year class were derived from spawning by restocked fish. The results of this and a previous genetic study imply that restocking is an effective and appropriate way for replenishing stocks of an estuarine species such as A. butcheri, especially as its recruitment is highly episodic.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Academic Press
Copyright: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd
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