An Evaluation of the Age Estimation Technique for Paddlefish Stock

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Authors Lauren Blenn
Journal/Conference Name Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Due to their extended life history and sensitive morphology, paddlefish are highly vulnerable to overfishing, river alterations, and to habitat and water quality. Their environmental sensitivities and their vulnerable status make it important to conserve this ancient fish. Accurate and precise aging is important for harvest and habitat management and ages are used to assess year-class strength, growth, mortality rates, and recruitment. This study evaluated different sectioning techniques to improve age estimation. Dentaries were cut into six sections and each section was compared. The first two and last two sections were not useful. Of a total of 50 samples studied, 22% (11 fish) were better estimated by the third section, 38% (19 fish) were better estimated by the fourth section, 34% (17 fish) could have been estimated by either section, and 3 fish were excluded for insufficient data. Known age Montana samples from 2005-2014 were used to validate both the section used for estimation and the method of age determination. Ages for unknown age samples were verified from previously collected data. Best section for age estimation was determined by an independent reader and therefore may have a small degree of bias and error to it. Further study is recommended.
Date of publication 2013
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