Age and growth of bigeye kilka (Clupeonella grimmi Kessler, 1877) in Iranian waters of the Caspian Sea
Age and growth of Bigeye Kilka, Clupeonella grimmi, were studied in Iranian waters of the Caspian Sea from early May 2006 to April 2007. The sagitta otoliths were removed for each 5 mm length interval up to a total number of 262 fish. Fork length and weight ranged from 92.5 to 142.5 mm and 4.2 g to 23.4 g, respectively. The largest length-groups was observed from December to February and the lowest in April, which was coincided with spawning period and feeding during wintering, respectively. The overall sex ratio (male:female) was 0.33:1 which differed significantly from the expected ratio of 1:1. The length-weight regression was W= 0.0000744 FL3.14 for females and W=0.0000341FL3.16 for males, indicating the Caspian Bigeye grew isometrically for both sexes. Age determination based on otoliths readings showed that the population was composed of six- groups from 2 to 7 years old which observed a rapidly growth during the second year. In the age compositions, the four years old specimens with a mean fork length and weight 115.5±7.8 mm and 11.9 ± 2.8 g were the most abundant age group and accounted for 40.1%. The condition factor was 0.7-0.8 which varied in difference months and coincided to the gonad development. Age-at-length data were used to determine von Bertalanffy growth parameters for this population in both sexes, indicating that K value and L∞ of females was more than that of males. The results showed that C. grimmi is a rapidly-growing species in the southern parts of the Caspian Sea.