Age, Growth and Natural Mortality of Blackfin Snapper Lutjanus buccanella from the Southeastern United States and U. S. Caribbean
We determined ages of Blackfin Snapper (Lutjanus buccanella Cuvier 1828; n = 622) collected from the southeastern United States coast and U.S. Caribbean from 1979–2015 using sectioned sagittal otoliths. Opaque zones were determined to be annular, forming March – July (peaking in April–June). Blackfin Snapper ranged from 1–27 years and from 180–609 mm total length (TL). Body size relationships for Blackfin Snapper were: TL = 1.09 FL + 0.81 (n = 203, r2 = 0.99); FL = 0.91 TL + 3.38 (n = 203, r2 = 0.99); TL = 1.23 SL + 14.27 (n = 83, r2 = 0.97); FL = 1.14 SL + 10.84 (n = 83, r2 = 0.99); W = 7.79 x 10—9 TL3.09 (n = 216); and W = 9.54 x 10—9 FL3.11 (n = 228). The von Bertalanffy growth equation was: Lt = 549 (1 — e—0.20 (t +1.51)) (n = 622). Point estimate of natural mortality was M = 0.16, while age—specific estimates of M ranged from 0.65–0.21/y for ages 1–27. This study presents the first findings of life history parameters for Blackfin Snapper from the Atlantic waters off the southeastern United States and U.S. Caribbean.