Size and sex ratio of king mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla, in the southeastern United States
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Size and sex ratio of king mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla, in the southeastern United States

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  • Description:
    Data from over 54,000 king mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla, were analyzed to evaluate temporal variations in size and sex composition in seven areas of the southeastern United States. Data were obtained from recreational hook-and- line fishermen of the coastal states from Texas to North Carolina, and from commercial hook-and-line and gill-net fishermen of south Florida. Most of the length-frequency distributions derived from king mackerel catches were uni-modal. This distribution is typical of a species that spawns over a long period each year, has highly variable growth rates among individuals, or both. Size composition in each area varied considerably between months and indicated temporally heterogeneous groups of king mackerel. Seasonal trends in size were at best weakly discernible. In Texas, where data were available from May to August, king mackerel tended to be larger in May and smaller in July; in Louisiana, where large fish were obtained throughout the year, the largest appeared to be more prevalent during the colder months; in northwest Florida, where data were available for the warmer months, fish at the beginning and end of the fishing season (May and September-November) appeared to be larger than those caught during mid-season; in south Florida, where data were available throughout the year, fish tended to be larger during spring and summer and smaller during winter; in North Carolina, where data were available from May to November, the fish appeared to be larger in the fall. There were strong tendencies for fish of similar sizes of each sex to occur together during specific time periods. Females were domlnant in the catches in all areas and years except south Florida in 1978. Annual or ranges of the annual estimates of percentage female by area were: Texas, 60.8 to 62.2%; Louisiana, 91.9 to 92.2%; northwest Florida, 57.1 to 75.1%; south Florida, 40.2 to 75.4%; and North Carolina, 75.8%. No explanation for these deviations from a 1:1 sex ratio was attempted. Distinct seasonal changes in sex ratio were observed only in Texas; females comprised the greatest proportion of the catch in the early months of each fishing season but, by August the sex ratio had approached 1:1.
  • Content Notes:
    Lee Trent, Roy O. Williams, Ronald G. Taylor, Carl H. Saloman, Charles S. Manooch, III. "April 1981." Also issued online in PDF format via the NOAA Central Library. Includes bibliographical references (page 8).
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