Mixture of time-dependent growth models with an application to blue swimmer crab length-frequency data Academic Article uri icon


  • Understanding how aquatic species grow is fundamental in fisheries because stock assessment often relies on growth dependent statistical models. Length-frequency-based methods become important when more applicable data for growth model estimation are either not available or very expensive. In this article, we develop a new framework for growth estimation from length-frequency data using a generalized von Bertalanffy growth model (VBGM) framework that allows for time-dependent covariates to be incorporated. A finite mixture of normal distributions is used to model the length-frequency cohorts of each month with the means constrained to follow a VBGM. The variances of the finite mixture components are constrained to be a function of mean length, reducing the number of parameters and allowing for an estimate of the variance at any length. To optimize the likelihood, we use a minorization-maximization (MM) algorithm with a Nelder-Mead sub-step. This work was motivated by the decline in catches of the blue swimmer crab (BSC) (Portunus armatus) off the east coast of Queensland, Australia. We test the method with a simulation study and then apply it to the BSC fishery data.


  • Lloyd-Jones, LR
  • Nguyen, HD
  • McLachlan, GJ
  • Sumpton, W
  • Wang, YG

publication date

  • 2016