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Variability in growth of longfinned eels among coastal catchments of south‐eastern Australia

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Longfinned eels Anguilla reinhardtii were captured by both fishery‐dependent and independent sampling methods from three rivers in New South Wales, south‐eastern Australia. Growth rates were examined in two zones (fresh water and tidal) in the Hacking, Hawkesbury and Clarence Rivers. Mean annual growth increments of sampled longfinned eels ranged from 30 to 60 mm year−1 using age‐length analyses and up to 167 mm year−1 based on tag‐recapture model estimates (GROTAG), with both methods showing high intra‐ and inter‐population variability. Growth was significantly faster in younger (5–15 years) fish than older (>15 years) fish, with females growing an average 10 mm year−1 faster than males of similar age and capture location. Longfinned eels found in tidal areas grew significantly faster than those in non‐tidal freshwater areas as a result of longer growing seasons in the highly productive estuarine habitats. Other possible factors influencing variability in growth rates for this species include habitat preference, density and fishing pressure.

Keywords: Anguilla reinhardtii; GROTAG; growth; tagging

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-1112.2006.01025.x

Affiliations: 1: NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre of Excellence, P. O. Box 21, Cronulla NSW 2230, Australia, 2: Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, U.S.A. 3: University of Technology, Sydney, Department of Environmental Sciences, Westbourne Street, Gore Hill NSW 2065, Australia and

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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