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Latin american journal of aquatic research

On-line version ISSN 0718-560X


CERNA, Francisco; CUBILLOS, Luis A  and  PLAZA, Guido. Historical analysis of somatic growth of Chilean hake (Merluccius gayi gayi) off central coast of Chile. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. [online]. 2013, vol.41, n.3, pp.558-569. ISSN 0718-560X.

Somatic growth was studied in the Chilean hake stock off central coast of Chile, through the application of Von Bertalanffy equation (vB) as a non-linear mixed effect model (NLME) on length-at-age-data derived from otolith readings made at Instituto de Fomento Pesquero since 1972. Average growth rates for each year from 1972 to 2009 were estimated. Growth parameters of vB curves were analyzed for three major periods regarding changes in stock biomass (1972-1990, 1991-2003 and 2004-2009). Results indicated that the average growth rate showed inter-annual variations that did not exceed ±15 cm of total length around the historical average of males and females, showing no persistent tendency towards sustained increase or decrease in somatic growth rate. Growth curves obtained with the vB parameters, estimated for the three periods, showed a similar trajectories until age 7 and 8 years, in both male and females. Changes after this age may be a result of a decrease of larger fish removed by the selective effect of fishing, which triggered variations in the fitted curves, but not necessarily changes in somatic growth of these ages in the population. The results demonstrated that the individual growth of hake has not changed significantly since 1972, without observing a density-dependent effect with decreasing abundance.

Keywords : somatic growth; Chilean hake; Merluccius gayi gayi; nonlinear mixed effects model; central Chile.

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