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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Tuesday, November 3 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Assessing Southern Flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) Populations in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

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Adrian Stanfill, Dennis DeVries, Russell Wright –Auburn University

Southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma, is a commercially and recreationally important flatfish species in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Estimates of age and growth of southern flounder from Barataria Bay, Louisiana, Mobile Bay, Alabama, and Apalachicola Bay, Florida were investigated by analyzing thin sections of sagittal otoliths from specimens collected from July 2014 to June 2015. To examine whether evidence suggests impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on southern flounder population dynamics, as well as quantify potential regional differences, sites were chosen to capture a gradient of potential impact from the oiling event, with the greatest potential impacts in Louisiana marshes and progressively less oil exposure moving eastward. Growth was quantified using von Bertalanffy equations and did not differ among regions. Significant differences in length-frequency distributions were observed for southern flounder across all three regions, being larger in Alabama versus Louisiana and Florida. We also examined weight-length relationships of the form W = aLb. The values of the exponent b for Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida were b = 3.2752, b = 3.1788, and b = 2.8448, respectively, indicating that southern flounder collected from Louisiana and Alabama coastal waters put on more weight per length than did fish from Florida coastal waters. To further distinguish these populations, we are currently quantifying their otolith microchemistry to determine the natal habitat that fish used as well as identifying any potential oil markers across the regional gradient.

Tuesday November 3, 2015 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST

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