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Neotropical Ichthyology

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DUARTE-NETO, Paulo; HIGA, Fábio M.  and  LESSA, Rosangela P.. Age and growth estimation of bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus (Teleostei: Scombridae) in the southwestern Atlantic. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2012, vol.10, n.1, pp.148-158. ISSN 1679-6225.

The purpose of the current study was to supply the first information on age and growth for Thunnus obesus caught in the equatorial south-western Atlantic using dorsal spines, an approach that has been successfully employed for ageing tuna species. The study was conducted using a multi-model inference based on information theory for back-calculated and observed length-at-age data. Uncertainty associated with the parameter estimation was verified and results were compared to other accounts on the species, considering both the statistical and methodological contexts. Samples were collected in Natal city (Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil) from February 1999 to January 2000, of tuna vessels and from surveys, aimed at providing information on the Brazilian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the area around São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago. Validation using marginal increment indicated that one ring is deposited per year. Mean length-at-age ranged of 54.3 to 177.5 cm (fork length) for ages 1 to 9 years. Von Bertalanffy, Richards, and Gompertz models were considered suitable for the bigeye tuna. Hence, the model-averaged asymptotic length ¯L was estimated. The averaged model generated in the present study by back-calculation was considered appropriate for describing the growth of T. obesus.

Keywords : Ageing techniques; Dorsal-fin spine; Growth parameters; Multi-model inference.

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