A reconceptualization of the interactions between spawning and growth in bony fish


  • Daniel Pauly Sea Around Us, Institute for the Ocean and Fisheries, University of British Columbia https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3756-4793
  • Cui Liang CAS Key Laboratory of Marine Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences - Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental Science, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6099-4965




Von Bertalanffy, reproductive drain, maturation, gill-oxygen limitation theory (GOLT)


Among fishery biologists and even ichthyologists, maturation and spawning of fish are viewed as processes that use “energy” that would otherwise be applied to somatic growth, which is supposed to explain why post-maturity growth in length tends to decline. This widespread conceptualization may be called the “reproductive drain hypothesis” (RDH). However, when growth is correctly viewed as involving body mass, and is thus expressed in weight, post-maturity turns out (in iteroparous bony fish whose maximum length exceeds 10 cm) to accelerate after first maturity, despite its energy cost. This, and other common observations flatly contradict the RDH, and the time has come to withdraw this hypothesis. As a contribution towards this task, we propose an alternative reconceptualization of fish spawning consistent with what is known about fish biology. 


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How to Cite

Pauly D, Liang C. A reconceptualization of the interactions between spawning and growth in bony fish. scimar [Internet]. 2022Dec.14 [cited 2023Oct.4];86(4):e044. Available from: https://scientiamarina.revistas.csic.es/index.php/scientiamarina/article/view/1933