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Age And growth of the giant Sea Bass, Stereolepis gigas
The giant sea bass, Stereolepis gigas, is the largest bony fish that inhabits California shallow rocky reef communities and is listed by IUCN as a critically endangered species, yet little is known about its life history. To address questions of growth and longevity, 64 samples were obtained through collaborative efforts with commercial fish markets and scientific gillnetting. Sagittae (otoliths) were cross-sectioned and analyzed with digital microscopy. Age estimates indicate that S. gigas is a long-lived species attaining at least 76 years of age. Over 90% of the variation between age (years) and standard length (mm) was accounted for in the von Bertalanffy growth model (R2 = 0.911). The calculated von Bertalanffy growth function parameters (K = 0.044, t0 = –0.339, L∞= 2026.2 mm SL) for S. gigas were characteristic of a large, slow-growing, apex predator.