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Abstract

In January 2010, a massive giant sea bass (500 lbs, 227 kg; near maximum reported size of 557 lbs, 253 kg) was captured off Santa Cruz Island by commercial gill-netters. This specimen presented a unique opportunity to estimate and validate of the potential longevity of the largest nearshore teleost of the northeastern Pacific. A transverse section of the sagittal otolith produced consistent counts of 62 opaque annuli along two different axes of the ventral sulcus region, translating into an estimated birth year of 1948. This age estimate was supported by measurements of radiocarbon (14C) in the other sagittal otolith core (within the first year of growth), relative to ∆14C reference records used for bomb radiocarbon dating. Two otolith core samples produced ∆14C values that were classified as pre-bomb (prior to ~1958-59), indicating a minimum lifespan of 51 years. It is likely that giant sea bass can live more than 60 or 70 years based on growth zone counts, but there is no evidence in the literature or this study to support longevity of 100 years.

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