Patterns in the distribution, size and age structure of the hogchoker

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Patterns in the distribution, size and age structure of the hogchoker, Trinectes maculatus, in the Chesapeake Bay
K.L. Curti and T.J. Miller
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, P.O. Box 38, Solomons, MD, 20688, 410-326-7373(W), 410-326-7210(F),

In support of multispecies fisheries management, we have conducted fishery-independent surveys of Chesapeake Bay fishes. The hogchoker, Trinectes maculatus (Achiridae), is a common but relatively unstudied component of survey catches. Nine years of survey data, from both the Chesapeake Bay Fishery Independent Multispecies Survey (CHESFIMS) and the Trophic Interactions in Estuarine Systems (TIES) programs, were analyzed to quantify patterns in distribution, size and age structure within the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay. Bimodal size distributions were apparent in the spring and fall. Across all seasons, size distributions were bimodal in the upper Bay. In other regions, only the larger size mode was present, potentially signifying seasonal movements with young of the year hogchoker present in low salinity areas. The investigation of age structure was conducted through otolith analysis, confirming the bimodal distributions. The strong influence of season on distributions supports previous research indicating that hogchoker exhibit age- and size-dependent patterns in distribution and undergo seasonal movements within tributaries.

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