Meristic and morphometric variation among sardine Sardinops sagax around the coast of southern Africa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Meristic counts and morphometric measurements were made on previously frozen sardine Sardinops sagax to determine whether there is a difference in the shape of sardine from different areas around southern Africa. Because freezing influences body size, eight different freezing periods were examined to determine the effects of freezing duration on the caudal length, weight and 21 morphometric measurements of sardine collected from commercial catches at Gans Bay and Saldanha Bay, South Africa. The relative weight loss of sardine ranged between 0.86 and 2.49% and the relative loss in caudal length ranged between 1.57 and 2.54%. Most of the morphometric measurements showed small changes with increasing freezing period and, if they decreased, the decrease was gradual. Samples for the morphometric study were frozen between 12 and 17 weeks before analysis. Independent sample t-tests between these freezing periods confirmed that there was no change in the morphometric measurements over this five week period. In total, 35 samples were collected from three main regions: Namibia, the South African west coast and the South African south and east coast.

Includes abstract.

Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-81).