Alternate Title

Life History Parameters of Gulf Flounder (Paralichthys albigutta) From Northwest Florida


Age, growth, natural and total mortality, a length-weight relationship, reproductive seasonality, sex ratio, maturity, and reproductive potential by size were estimated for gulf flounder, Paralichthys albigutta, from northwest Florida. The study used a fishery-independent approach during three annual migratory spawning seasons to sample gulf flounder offshore (spearing by divers) and inshore (multipanel trammel nets). We found gulf flounder to be slightly smaller at L∞ than other paralichthids (using either von Bertalanffy or damped growth functions), but gulf flounder obtained larger sizes and older ages than previously thought for this species [females to 575 mm total length (TL) and age 7, males to 373 mm TL and age 11], probably due to offshore sampling targeting more of the adult component of the stock. Given the older age structure than previously noted for this species, gulf flounder maturity and mortality estimates were similar to values reported for other U.S. paralichthids. Gulf flounder exhibited fall-winter gonad development with all evidence pointing to spawning occurring offshore. We estimated batch fecundity and spawning frequency, but it was apparent that there was a seasonal effect for both of these parameters, with increased oocyte density and nearly daily spawning occurring by late October to November, the peak period of development, also reflected in the gonadosomatic index.