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Feasibility of using growth band counts in age determination of four crustacean species in the Northern Atlantic

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The age information of commercially important species is crucial in fisheries management. Age of various fish and molluscan species has routinely been determined by counting annual growth bands deposited within the hard structures. In crustaceans such structures were previously believed to be lost and replaced due to molting. However, a technique was recently developed to use growth bands deposited in hard structure retained through molting as an age indicator. In the present study, the applicability of the novel technique is investigated for four crustacean species collected from Northern Atlantic for the first time: European lobster, Homarus gammarus(Linnaeus, 1758); Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus(Linnaeus, 1758); Atlantic rock crab, Cancer irroratusSay, 1817; and northern shrimp, Pandalus borealis(Krøyer, 1838). The gastric mill ossicles in the first three species were processed to show the growth bands while the eyestalk was used in the shrimp species. Four growth bands were visible in European lobster hatched in a Norwegian hatchery and maintained alive for four years before prior processing. Band counts in the other three species were identical to size-at-age interpretation determined from length-frequency analysis. Validation of the periodicity of annual deposition of growth bands is essential before applying the technique on a wider scale.

Affiliations: 1: 3Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway; 2: 4Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Kivioq 2, Nuuk, Greenland; 3: 5The University of Iceland’s Research Centre in Suðurnes, University of Iceland, Garðvegur 1, Iceland; 4: 6Marine Research Institute, Skúlagata 4, Reykjavík, Iceland; 5: 7Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland; 6: 8Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Newfoundland Region, Canada


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