Scientia Marina, Vol 81, No 3 (2017)

Anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) otoliths reveal growth differences between two areas of the Spanish Mediterranean Sea

Ana Ventero
Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Centre Oceanogràfic de Balears, Spain

Magdalena Iglesias
Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Centre Oceanogràfic de Balears, Spain

Begoña Villamor
Instituto Español de Oceanografía. Centro Oceanográfico de Santander, Spain


Anchovy is a commercial species that supports large fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, anchovy is an essential element of the pelagic food web, playing a considerable role in connecting the lower and upper trophic levels. Comparisons made regarding length frequency distribution, demographic structure, growth during the first year inferred from otoliths, and the condition factor of anchovy inhabiting the Spanish Mediterranean Sea (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean management units, GSA06-Ebro Delta and 01-Alboran Sea), based on five-year data, clearly showed significant growth differences between areas and evidenced the existence of two independent anchovy stocks in the Spanish Mediterranean Sea. The anchovies inhabiting the Alboran Sea had higher growth than the anchovies inhabiting the Ebro Delta for the same age (one year old). The dramatic decline of the Alboran Sea anchovy could be related to the current management legislation in the Spanish Mediterranean Sea, based mainly on a common minimum catch size (9 cm), which should be revised given that sustainable anchovy exploitation is crucial for the pelagic food web equilibrium.


anchovy growth; length-frequency distribution; otolith first radius; anchovy stocks; condition factor; fisheries management; Spanish Mediterranean Sea

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