Alternate Title

Occurrence, Growth, and Food Habits of the Spotted Hake, Urophycis regia, in the Cape Fear Estuary and Adjacent Atlantic Ocean, North Carolina


From 1973 to 1978, 62,867 Urophycis regia were collected from the Cape Fear Estuary, North Carolina, and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean. Most fish were young-of-the-year (25-225 mm SL), but a few age-l individuals (230-295 mm) were present in the estuary from January to June. They moved offshore or northward when water temperatures warmed above 22°C. Average monthly growth increments varied from 12 to 26 mm SL; the greatest increase in length was 92 mm from January to June 1977. Length-weight regressions for the 6-year study period were similar. Important food items were crustaceans (largely mysid shrimp and decapods) and fishes (clupeid and sciaenid larvae). The abundance of U. regia in inshore waters and the relatively large size it reaches suggests that marketing needs to be explored.