We examined the growth characteristics of 303 Atlantic sturgeon, Acipenser oxyrinchus, caught in the commercial fishery off the New Jersey coast from 1992 to 1994 (fork length range: 93–219 cm). Sections taken from the leading pectoral fin ray were used to age each sturgeon. Ages ranged from 5–26 years. Von Bertalanffy growth models for males and females fit well, but test statistics (t-test, maximum likelihood) failed to reject the null hypothesis that growth was not significantly different between sexes. Consequently, all data were pooled and the combined data gave L∞ and K estimates of 174.2 cm and 0.144, respectively. Our growth data do not fit the pattern of slower growth and increased size in more northernly latitudes for Atlantic sturgeon observed in other work. Lack of uniformity of our growth data may be due to (1) the sturgeon fishery harvesting multiple stocks having different growth rates, and (2) size limits for the commercial fishery having created a bias in estimating growth parameters.
Additional publication details
A novel approach to fitting the von Bertalanffy relationship to a mixed stock of Atlantic sturgeon harvested off the New Jersey Coast