Fisheries Research Articles

A substantial recruitment year for the western yellowfin bream (Acanthopagrus latus, Sparidae) sustains years of high catch rates in the inner gulfs of Shark Bay, Western Australia

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Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia




recruitment; western yellowfin bream; Acanthopagrus latus; Shark Bay; otolith; year class strength; age


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


A large increase in the annual commercial catch and catch per unit effort of western yellowfin bream (Acanthopagrus latus) in the inner gulfs of Shark Bay, Western Australia, from 2002 to 2005 prompted an examination of the age structure of the 2005 catch. Sectioned otoliths from 108 fish were assessed to determine whether the cause was related to an increased abundance following a substantial recruitment. The 1999 age class was exceptionally strong, contributing 48.1% of the sample, and according to published growth rate estimates, this cohort would have recruited to the fishery at the same time catch rates began to increase. Year class strengths of older cohorts were consistent with catch sampling carried out in 1999 and 2000, together demonstrating highly variable interannual recruitment, a trait commonly reported for sparids. Neither Leeuwin Current strength nor rainfall was found to be associated with year class strength. Factors determining and possibly predicting year class strength in this species in Shark Bay remain unknown and require further research.