Bayesian age and growth analysis of the shortfin mako shark Isurus oxyrinchus in the Western South Atlantic Ocean using a flexible model

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Age and growth estimates of shortfin mako sharks Isurus oxyrinchus from the western South Atlantic Ocean were obtained through the analysis of vertebral sections of 245 specimens (126 females, 116 males and 3 with undetermined sex), ranging in size from 78 to 330 cm fork length (FL), using a flexible growth model (Schnute model) and a Bayesian approach. A significant linear relationship was found between FL and vertebral radius for sexes combined. Marginal increment analyses were inconclusive about periodicity of growth band deposition and an annual periodicity was assumed to make age estimations. Specimens were estimated to be between 0 and 28 years of age. The Schnute model provided a good description of the individual growth for both sexes up to 15 years of age. Shortfin mako growth during the first year of life was 33.9 cm (ICr95% = 19.9-40.8) for females and 30.5 cm (ICr95% = 25.6-35.4) for males. Until approximately 15 years of age, both sexes showed similar growth and reached similar to 217 cm FL. Sigmoid shaped growth curves obtained for both sexes indicated a change in the growth pattern close to 7 years of age. Inconclusive results about periodicity of growth band deposition in the study area make necessary the application of more robust validation techniques in the future. Meanwhile, a precautionary approach that assumes an annual deposition pattern in the western South Atlantic can be used for the assessment and management of stocks of this species, characterized by low fecundity and late maturity.




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Environmental Biology Of Fishes. New York: Springer, v. 98, n. 2, p. 517-533, 2015.

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