Original Articles

Life history of white stumpnose Rhabdosargus globiceps (Pisces: Sparidae) off South Africa


Fishery-dependent and fishery-independent distribution analyses together reveal four discrete areas of white stumpnose Rhabdosargus globiceps abundance between Port Nolloth and the Kei River off the Cape Province of South Africa: the Western Cape (Saldanha Bay), the South-Western Cape, the Southern Cape and the South-Eastern Cape. On the basis of migratory patterns determined from tagging and catch data, and on differences in growth rate and size-at-maturity, it is concluded that these areas of abundance represent four separate stocks. Each stock apparently disperses offshore in winter (to c. 130 m depth) and concentrates inshore (<60 m depth) in response to ocean ographic patterns during summer. Growth rate and size-at-50% maturity (L 50) increased clinally from the South-Eastern Cape through to the South-Western Cape, and in all three regions males matured at larger size than females. Sizes at maturity for male and female R. globiceps were respectively 18.6 and 15.3 cm (fork length, FL) in the South-Eastern Cape, 22.1 and 18.1 cm in the Southern Cape and 24.3 and 23.6 cm in the South-Western Cape. The fitted Von Bertalanffy growth equations for the three regions were: Lt = 349 (1−e−0.114(t+3.60)) mm for the South-Eastern Cape; Lt = 337 (1−e−0.207(t+1.05)) mm for the Southern Cape; and Lt = 379 (1−e−0.290(t+0.16)) mm for the South-Western Cape. Maximum ages recorded in each region were 21 years for the South-Western Cape, 20 years for the Southern Cape and 10 years for the South-Eastern Cape. Lack of older fish in the South-Eastern Cape sample, attributed to inadequate sample size, has probably resulted in overestimates of both L and K in this region. Spawning is from August to February, with a peak in spring (September–November). Early juvenile R. globiceps recruit into estuarine and surf-zone marine nursery areas at around 2–5cm (±3 months), but move progressively farther offshore with growth; those trawled deeper than 50 m east of Cape Agulhas were predominantly adults (20–35 cm FL). Because of cooler water temperatures west of Cape Agulhas, adults there are found from the surf zone to depths of only 20 m in summer.

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