Fish populations are often treated as homogeneous units in typical fishery management, thereby tacitly ignoring potential intraspecific variation which can lead to imprecise management rules. However, intraspecific variation in life-history traits is widespread and related to a variety of factors. We investigated the comparative age-based demography of the two main colour patterns of Labrus bergylta (plain and spotted, which coexist in sympatry), a commercially valuable resource in the NE Atlantic. Individuals were aged based on otolith readings after validating the annual periodicity of annuli deposition. The relationships between the otolith weight and fish age and between otolith length and fish length were strong but differed between colour patterns. The fit of the growth models to the age and length data resulted in divergent growth curves between colour morphotypes and between sexes. Males and spotted individuals attained larger mean asymptotic sizes (Linf) than females and plain individuals, respectively, but converged to them more slowly (smaller k). Estimates of mortality based on catch curves from two independent datasets provided a global total mortality (Z) of 0.35 yr-1, although Z was larger in plain and female individuals. Overall, the results of this research have direct implications for management of L. bergylta and, as a precautionary measure, we recommend considering both colour patterns as two different management units. 2013 Villegas-Ros et al.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)