Importance of age validation

How long fish live and why you should care

Publication year 2008

Age-validated longevity of fishes: Its importance for sustainable fisheries

Marine fisheries have spread to the deep-sea because the fishes in many of the shallow-water marine habitats have been overexploited. Many studies have found that deep-sea fishes generally grow slowly and can achieve long life spans; however, most age estimates have not been validated. Several methods for validating age and growth estimates have been developed and applied to deep-water and other long-lived organisms. These include lead-radium and bomb radiocarbon dating of calcified structures. Application of these techniques has usually validated high lifespan estimates, some in excess of a century. In this paper, we discuss the applications and limitations of these techniques for difficult-to-age fishes. Because many fishery management techniques focus on biomass or yield and not as much on life history stages of fished populations, we specifically focus on the relevance of age validation to fishery management of deep-dwelling fishes, especially relative to slow growth, late age at maturity, long life spans, and the relative contribution of big, old, fecund females (BOFFs) and maternal-age-dependent larval survival to future generations via lifetime fecundity. These life history traits make their populations more vulnerable to fishing mortality, thus emphasizing the need to accurately assess longevity in fishes.

Also see article about deep dwelling fishes living longer.

Publication: Cailliet, G.M., and A.H. Andrews. 2008. Age-validated longevity of fishes: Its importance for sustainable fisheries. In: Fisheries for global welfare and environment. Edited by: K. Tsukamoto, T. Kawamura, T. Takeuchi, T.D. Beard, Jr., and M.J. Kaiser. 5th World Fisheries Congress 2008, TERRAPUB, Tokyo, Japan. pp. 103-120.