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Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2013, Vol 13, Num, 3     (Pages: 529-540)

Biological Aspects of Swordfish, Xiphias gladius Linnaeus, 1758, Caught During Tuna Longline Survey in the Indian Seas

Sijo P. Varghese 1 ,K. Vijayakumaran 2 ,A. Anrose 3 ,Vaibhav D. Mhatre 2

1 Cochin Base of Fishery Survey of India, Post Box No. 853, Kochangadi, Kochi, India
2 Fishery Survey of India, Botawala Chambers, Sir P. M. Road, Mumbai, India
3 Chennai Base of Fishery Survey of India, Royapuram, Chennai, India
DOI : 10.4194/1303-2712-v13_3_18 Viewed : 4814 - Downloaded : 5082 Distribution, abundance and biology of swordfish, Xiphias gladius, of the Indian seas were investigated by analyzing the data gathered during tuna longline surveys conducted by the Fishery Survey of India (FSI). Study undertaken during the period from 2004 to 2010 revealed swordfish Catch Per Unit Effort of 0.02 numbers in 100 hooks from the Arabian Sea; 0.01 from Bay of Bengal and 0.02 form the Andaman and Nicobar waters. About 16% of the specimens caught were juveniles and the sex ratio of smaller fishes was in favour of males, whereas, larger specimens were mostly females. Length-weight relationship established indicated slightly positive allometric growth of the species and length based models revealed difference in growth between sexes. The growth parameters estimated for females were: asymptotic length (L∞) = 311.11 cm, growth coefficient (K) = 0.17/yr and age at zero length (t0) = –0.53 yr, whereas, the growth parameters estimated for males were: L∞ = 243.79 cm, K = 0.22/yr and t0 = –0.37 yr. Diet was dominated by finfishes and cephalopods, while crustaceans were recorded rarely. Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis was the dominant prey species, followed by Paralepis sp. Spawning area was identified in the Lakshadweep waters from where mature females with hydrated oocytes were caught during December to April. Size at 50% maturity for females was estimated at 164.03 cm, which is reached at about four years of age. Mean batch fecundity was 4.5 million, while the relative fecundity was 37.5 hydrated oocytes per gram of body weight and the diameters of mature oocytes were in the range of 0.9-1.6 mm. Our results provide preliminary information on the abundance, growth and biology of this species in the Indian seas which should be useful to fishery managers. Keywords : Swordfish, longline bycatch, growth parameters, stomach contents, fecundity, Indian Ocean