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JNAFS

01

Joseph J. Graham, Bruce J. Joule, Curt L. Crosby and David W. Townsend

Maine Department of Marine Resources Fishery Research Laboratory
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA 04575

Source - Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science, Volume 5(2): 131-142
ISSN-0250-7408

Abstract

Characteristics of the spawning population of Atlantic herring along the Maine coast are inferred from an examination of larval catch rates and the distribution of larval cohorts based on otolith growth increments. Comparison of larval catch rates with the harvests of adult herring indicated that larval production decreased precipitously in 1978 following the removal of the 1970 year-class from the coastal spawning population and a general increase in the catch of adults. Reduced larval production persisted after 1978 and reached a low level in 1981 which resulted in the collapse of the fishery for juveniles (age 2) in 1983. Comparison of catch rates from larval surveys along the coast and the occurrence of larval cohorts inshore during 1980-81 with those reported for the mid-1960's and early 1970's indicated little change in the location of spawning grounds and the presence of larval cohorts, but the mechanisms which enhance larval survival and recruitment were probably not the same for the spawning grounds off eastern and central-western Maine. It is suggested that the survival of larvae hatched in the eastern area was increased by their dispersion westward along the coast to overwinter in the many estuaries and embayments, whereas larvae hatched in the central-western area were less widely dispersed but their survival was increased by the shorter winter experienced by some because of late spawning. The absence of late spawning in the central-western area in 1981, evident from the absence of larval cohorts inshore during the winter, was probably responsible in part for the very small catch of juvenile herring in 1983. The implications of reducing the spawning population below some critical level by intensive harvesting of weak year-classes are discussed in relation to management problems.

Language - English
Publisher - Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), Dartmouth, N.S., Canada
Publication Date - November 1984
Publication Type - Journal Article

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