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An Assessment of Sampling Approaches for Estimating Growth From Fishery-Dependent Biological Samples

May 06, 2022

We test the suitability of otolith sampling approaches for fisheries age and growth studies. 

Accuracy of fish growth estimates depends greatly on how samples are collected. A total of three common sampling strategies are random, fixed otolith sampling (FOS), and proportional otolith sampling (POS). Random sampling is inefficient and rarely random. While POS has been shown to produce more accurate estimates of growth compared to FOS under ideal conditions, it is unclear how variables such as sample size, fishery selectivity, and fishing mortality influence sampling bias.

A total of 24 scenarios were tested to examine the influence of sample size, minimum size selected in the fishery, fishery exploitation rates, and supplemental sampling on growth parameter estimates. POS consistently performed better than FOS, especially when the catch was representative of the population. However, FOS performed better when catch was not representative. This research demonstrates the importance of considering effects of fishery selectivity, fishing mortality, and sample size on sampling strategy and provides a tool to select an appropriate approach.


Schemmel E, Bohaboy EC, Kinney MJ, O'Malley JM. 2022. An assessment of sampling approaches for estimating growth from fishery-dependent biological samples. ICES Journal of Marine Science.0:1-18.  https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsac075.

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 05/10/2022

Fisheries Management