Influence of maternal effects and temperature on fecundity of Sebastes fasciatus on the Flemish Cap
Keywords:reproductive potential, fish condition, life history, autodiametric method
The conservation of a sufficient reproductive potential of an exploited stock is one of the goals of fisheries management, as it ensures sustainable productivity. However, there is evidence that spawning stock biomass (SSB) does not represent well the variation in stock reproductive potential, often leading to impaired stock-recruitment relationships. In this study we show that fecundity of Sebastes fasciatus on Flemish Cap is not proportional to SSB and shows temporal fluctuation influenced by maternal effects. Females were collected in 23 research surveys between 1996 and 2020. An autodiametric calibration model was developed for S. fasciatus for the first time to estimate fecundity. Mean potential fecundity was estimated as 36000 oocytes and mean relative fecundity as 79 oocytes g–1. Potential fecundity varied significantly with female length, age, condition index, gonadosomatic index and environmental variability. Mixed-effect linear models were fitted to assess the effect of maternal traits and bottom temperature on fecundity. Fecundity increased significantly with condition factor and sea bottom temperature. Relative fecundity also increased significantly with length, age and gonadosomatic index, indicating that older, larger and better-conditioned females produce more eggs per female gram. This suggests that SSB is not a good proxy to stock reproductive potential so it is unsuitable for use in stock assessment and scientific advice. Considering that S. fasciatus is a viviparous species, future research should focus on maternal effects on offspring and on building time series of reproductive potential indexes that take into account maternal effects.
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Xunta de Galicia
Grant numbers IN606A 2017/4
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
Grant numbers IN606A 2017/4