Grubby (Myoxocephalus aenaeus, Cottidae) is a common benthic fish of inshore waters and estuaries of eastern Long Island Sound; however, little information exists on their life history or population demographics. This study utilised a long-term data series (1976-2002) to assess grubby life history and population demographics and explores trends in the Niantic River and Niantic Bay populations. In addition, we examined the age, size, and fecundity of adult grubby in 2001-02 to determine the population characteristics in the region. Mean grubby catch per unit effort (CPUE) in Niantic Bay ranged from 0.4 per trawl in 1976 to 2.9 per trawl in 1984 while river CPUE ranged from 0.4 per trawl in 1977 to 7.6 per trawl in 1989. Catch of grubby in bottom trawls varied seasonally with highest CPUE occurring in winter. Highest entrainment of grubby larvae occurred in 2001 while the lowest entrainment observed was in 1991. Four age classes, 0+ through III+, were derived from otolith analysis (N = 51) although length frequency analysis suggested the possibility of older fish in the population. The total number of eggs in ovaries ranged from 286 to 16 451 for grubby (N = 64) between 52 mm and 155 mm TL. Results of this study indicated a decline in abundance of adult grubby over the 26-year period, possibly related to concurrent declines in eelgrass (Zostera marina) abundance and/or increased water temperature. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Relative abundance, age, growth, and fecundity of grubby Myoxocephalus aenaeus in Niantic River and Niantic Bay, Long Island Sound