Southern Green Bay supports important fisheries for yellow perch Perca flavescens and valid estimates of age structure and growth are critical to effective management. Anal fin spines and scales are used by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for age estimation, but these structures may provide lower precision and accuracy than otoliths. The primary objective of our assessment was to determine if age estimates, among-reader precision, and mean back-calculated total lengths (TLs) at age differed among scales, anal fin spines, and otoliths. Ages estimated from anal fin spines were more precise than scale ages, were as precise as otolith-based ages, and generally agreed with consensus ages estimated from sectioned otoliths. Relationships between TL and radii of calcified structures were linear for scales, anal spines, and otoliths along two different transects. Mean back-calculated TLs were generally similar between intercept-corrected direct proportion (ICDP) and linear regression (LR) models, but otolith-based direct proportion models (no intercept correction) generally provided higher back-calculated mean TLs at ages 1 and 2 than ICDP and LR models. Mean back-calculated TLs at age estimated from whole otoliths were higher than estimates for other structures; but differences among anal fin spines, scales, and sectioned otoliths were <10 mm. Our results suggest biologists have little to gain by switching to otoliths when assessing age structure and growth for this fast-growing yellow perch population with relatively few fish ≥age 6, but additional analyses are warranted for slower-growing perch populations in the Great Lakes where older fish are more common.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Evaluation of anal fin spines, otoliths, and scales for estimating age and back-calculated lengths of yellow perch in southern Green Bay|
|Series title||Journal of Great Lakes Research|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Leetown|
|Other Geospatial||Green Bay|