Are growth parameters estimated from tagging and age–length data comparable?

  • Francis R
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The two most common ways of estimating fish growth use age-length data and tagging data. It is shown that growth parameters estimated from these two types of data have different meanings and thus are not directly comparable. In particular, the von Bertalanffy parameter B, means asymptotic mean length at age for age-length data, and maximum length for tagging data, when estimated by conventional methods. New parameterinations are given for the von Bertalanffy equation which avoid this ambiguity and better represent the growth information in the two types of data. The comparison between growth estimates from these data sets is shown to be equivalent to comparing the mean growth rate of fish of a given age with that of fish of length equal to the mean length at that age. How much these growth rates may differ in real populations remains unresolved: estimates for two species of fish produced markedly different results, neither of which could be reproduced using growth models. Existing growth models are shown to be inadequate to answer this question. Les

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  • R.I.C.C. Francis

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