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Reproductive biology and spatiotemporal patterns of spawning in striped marlin Kajikia audax

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This study presents the first histology‐based assessment of the reproductive dynamics of south‐west Pacific striped marlin Kajikia audax. Maturity and reproductive status were assessed from histological sections of ovaries (n = 234) and testes (n = 243) of fish caught in commercial longline and recreational fisheries between 2006 and 2009. Spawning peaked in the Coral Sea during November and December at sea surface temperatures between 24·8 and 28·3° C. Lower jaw fork length (L LJF) at 50% maturity (L LJF50), a key variable for stock assessment, was estimated to be 2100 ± 102 mm (mean + s.e.) for females and 1668 ± 18 mm for males. Unlike large pelagic tunas Thunnus spp., the proportion of females increased with length and spawning fish formed multiple large‐scale aggregations within a broad latitudinal band. This study provides a starting point for biological parameters needed for stock assessment and conservation of K. audax and introduces the multiple aggregation spawning concept as a reproductive mechanism to explain genetic heterogeneity observed in some highly migratory species.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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