FISH SCALE AGING
Cason & Associates offers fish aging services. This service can be added onto one of our fish surveys or fish scales can be sent to us from your pond or lake to age and analyze.
WHY AGE FISH
Collecting age data is a crucial part of any fish management program. Age data allows one to determine rate of growth, age composition (relative year class strength, success of periodic stocking) and mortality rates (angler harvest + natural death). This information is essential for evaluating or determining the need for fish stocking, population control and habitat manipulations. It is also essential information for setting harvest restrictions, such as length limits, bag limits and season lengths.
METHODS FOR DETERMINING AGE
There are three main methods for estimating ages of a population of fish:
The empirical approach involves direct observation of known-age or marked fish
The statistical approach involves modal analysis of length frequencies
The anatomical approach involves determining age from observing annuli in calcified tissues, such as fin spines, bones, otoliths and scales.
The anatomical approach is typically the most reliable of the three. The empirical and statistical methods are primarily used to support or validate anatomical aging methods. Among the anatomical aging methods, scale analysis has long been considered the most efficient and practical.
Most temperate gamefish and panfish species can be aged through scale analysis, however, only scales from particular areas on a fish’s body are suitable for aging.