Growth analysis and age validation of a deepwater Arctic fish, the Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides)

Margaret A. Treble, Steven E. Campana, Rick J. Wastle, Cynthia M. Jones, Jesper Boje

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The accuracy of age interpretations on a deep-sea, Arctic fish species, the Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) was tested using several age validation methods. Consistent annual growth increments were either not formed or not visible in either whole or sectioned otoliths from three fish marked with oxytetracyline and recaptured after 2-4 years at liberty. Bomb radiocarbon assays based on a local reference chronology indicated that both whole and sectioned otoliths underestimated age by 1-15 years, with an average of 6 years. Growth rates estimated using the tag recapture model GROTAG were consistent with growth rates based on the radiocarbon assays and were less than half that of previously reported growth rates. The failure of otolith sections to provide an accurate age is unusual, but may be symptomatic of very slow-growing species with unusually shaped otoliths. Greenland halibut living in the deep-sea, Arctic environment are slower growing and longer lived than previously suspected, suggesting that the age-structured basis for current fisheries management warrants careful examination. Our results highlight the importance of using rigorous tests of ageing accuracy for exploited species and confirm that such age validation methods can be applied successfully in challenging environments such as the deep sea or the Arctic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1059
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


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