Chisnall, B. J. and B. J. Hicks (1993). Age and growth of longfinned eels (Anguilla dieffenbachii) in pastoral and forested streams in the Waikato River basin, and in two hydro-electric lakes in the North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 27, 317-332.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/1577
Growth rates of New Zealand endemic longfinned eels (Anguilla dieffenbachii) from streams in pasture and indigenous forest, and from two hydroelectric lakes (Lakes Karapiro and Matahina), were estimated by otolith examination. Habitat-specific growth was further investigated with measurement of widths of annual bands in otoliths. Longfinned eels 170-1095 mm in length ranged between 4 and 60 years old (N=252). Eels in pastoral streams grew faster (mean annual length increment ±95% CL = 24 ± 3 mm to 36 ± 7 mm) than eels in streams in indigenous forest (annual length increment 12 ± 2 mm to 15 ± 3 mm). Eels from the hydro-electric lakes had growth rates (annual length increments 19 ± 4 and 19 + 7 mm) similar to eels from pastoral streams. Otoliths of most eels showed annual band widths that indicated growth in several different habitats, corresponding to growth during upstream migration, and limited movement among adult habitats. Estimated age at marketable size (220 g) ranged between 7 and 26 years. The particularly slow growth of longfinned eels in streams in indigenous forest has considerable implications for management. The fast growth rates of eels in hydro-electric lakes provides evidence for the potential of increased eel production by stocking. The probable selective production of female eels in these lakes may be nationally important to allow enhancement of breeding stocks.
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