Maximum total length and age of black drum Pogonias cromis (Osteichthyes: Sciaenidae) off Texas.
Black drum (Pogonias cromis) support economically important fisheries throughout their range (Doerzbacher et al. 1988). Reliable stock assessments and sustainable yield predictions are required to sustain these fisheries in the face of increasing recreational and commercial demands. Yield models, such as the Beverton-Holt model (Gulland 1969), require an estimate of maximum length and age. Doerzbacher et al. (1988) estimated black drum maximum total length (L (infinity)) in Texas as 798 +/- 42 mm by fitting a temperature compensated von Bertalanffy growth model to tag release and recapture data. However, their estimate may have been biased low because their data were skewed toward fish 300 to 700 mm free less than 200 days. Further, L (infinity) is defined as mathematically as the absolute maximum attainable length (Vaughn and Kanciruk 1982). While L (infinity) is of interest, the value most often used as a proxy for L (infinity) is the average maximum length (L) as described by Alverson and Carney (1975) especially for heavily exploited species. This study reports average maximum total length (L) and age (tL) that black drum reach in Texas estuarine and Gulf of Mexico waters.