Journal Article

Age validation of walleye pollock (<i>Theragra chalcogramma</i>) from the Gulf of Alaska using the disequilibrium of Pb-210 and Ra-226

Craig R. Kastelle and Daniel K. Kimura

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 8, pages 1520-1529
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Age validation of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) from the Gulf of Alaska using the disequilibrium of Pb-210 and Ra-226

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The walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) is a commercially important species in the North Pacific, and harvest quotas are dependent upon accurate determination of ages. The two techniques (called methods A and B) currently used to interpret the growth zone patterns in walleye pollock otoliths were compared. The age distributions from these two techniques differed; method B produced ages twice that of method A. Validation of ages from walleye pollock has not been done previously. Radiometric ageing based on the ratio of Pb-210/Ra-226 was used to evaluate the accuracy of otolith growth zone counts, and it demonstrated that method A, which produced younger ages between 3 and 8 years, was correct. Walleye pollock grow older than the 3–8 year (method A) age range validated in this study. The experimental design was limited to a maximum method A age of 8 years, because available samples did not provide the minimum of 40 fish required for estimating a radiometric age. Our radiometric ageing study on walleye pollock appears to be the first to use the Pb-210/Ra-226 radiometric age-validation method in a boreal fish species where all samples were potentially young, 8 years or less. In previous studies, radiometric ages often approached 100 years. Also, only one presumed year class was used, which was sampled in successive years. Therefore, Ra-226 sample measurements were averaged to provide lower error.

Keywords: age determination; age validation; Pb-210/Ra-226; radiometric ageing; walleye pollock

Journal Article.  7133 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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