Regional variation in maturation of sandeels in the North Sea

TitleRegional variation in maturation of sandeels in the North Sea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBoulcott, P, Wright, PJ, Gibb, FM, Jensen, H, Gibb, IM
JournalICES J Mar Sci
Pagination369 - 376
Date Published2007
ISBN Number1054-3139

Boulcott, P., Wright, P. J., Gibb, F. M., Jensen, H., and Gibb, I. M. 2007. Regional variation in maturation of sandeels in the North Sea. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 369–376. The current assessment of lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) in the North Sea assumes a single stock and a knife-edge maturity ogive. However, there is evidence that the North Sea stock consists of several reproductively isolated components, raising the possibility of demographic differences among regional aggregations. We examine regional variation in size- and age-at-maturity in four components of the North Sea stock. Surveys in 1999 indicated pronounced regional differences in length- and weight-at-age, implying a disparity in growth rate across the North Sea. Logistic regression revealed that the onset of maturity was significantly related to regional distribution, in addition to length and age, with a tendency for fish off the UK's northeast coast to mature later and smaller than elsewhere. No significant effect of year on either growth or length-at-maturity was revealed from a comparison with other data collected in 2004. The results show that important regional phenotypic variation not currently represented in stock assessments could have implications for the local sustainability of sandeel aggregations.

Short TitleICES Journal of Marine Science