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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Info

Marine Fisheries

How This Information is Used:

8-point rule

 
 

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries regularly collects information about fish stocks in state waters. This information, such as age, size, and reproductive potential, is vital to assess the number of fish in the population. Age information about fish are collected by analyzing scales or hard body parts, like otoliths (ear bones) and spines, for annual growth rings. By determining the age of a fish, biologists can begin to get an idea about the age-structure of the population and the growth rate of the fish. This information is then used in stock assessments and fishery management plans (FMPs) to help officials better mange the fisheries resources of the state.

 

otoliths

Left—Biologist removing otoliths from a carcass  |   Right—Spotted seatrout whole otoliths

otolith

Healthy populations will have fish of all ages represented while missing age classes may indicate a problem with that stock.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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