Association of large juvenile red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, with an estuarine creek on the Atlantic coast of Florida

  • Adams D
  • Tremain D
  • 5


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Seasonal abundance, size distribution, year-class presence, residence duration, and migrational patterns of red dram, Sciaenops ocellatus, in an estuarine marsh creek in the northern Indian River Lagoon, Florida, were investigated during a study in which gill net samples were collected monthly from August 1991 to March 1996. A total of 282 large juvenile red drum were collected, of which 161 were tagged and released and 68 were sacrificed for age determination. Although red drum were collected in the creek throughout the year, abundance levels were negatively correlated with water temperatures and reached maximum levels during the winter months. Significant correlations between fish abundance and salinity or dissolved oxygen levels were not detected. The majority (90%) of the fish collected were large juveniles (260-450 mm standard length) that were estimated to be from 10 to 26 months old. The oldest red drum we examined from the creek was estimated to be 37 months old. Tag-recapture data indicated that some fish repeatedly used or were associated with the creek for periods of up to 18 months after release. Estuarine creeks in this region provide exploitable habitat for large juvenile red drum (< age 3), which compose the majority of the species' fishery landings in Florida waters.

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  • [Age, Gill nets, Habitat utilization, Recapture, S

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  • D.H. Adams

  • D.M. Tremain

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