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Variations in spawning ground area and egg density of the Japanese sardine in Pacific coastal and oceanic waters

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The spawning ground of the Japanese sardine, Sardinops melanostictus (Schlegel), was distributed over the oceanic waters as well as the coastal waters along the Pacific coasts of western and eastern Japan during 1978–1992. The area of the spawning ground in the coastal waters on the continental shelf has ranged from 95 000 km2 in 1992 to 143 000 km2 in 1988, constituting 44–77% of the total area of the spawning ground. The area of the coastal spawning ground was relatively constant in spite of the large fluctuations in egg abundance, i.e. size of the spawning population, from 88 trillion (1987) to 668 trillion (1989) in the waters. Spawning adults seemed to extend over the coastal waters irrespective of the size of the spawning population. In contrast to the coastal waters, the spawning area in the oceanic waters offshore of the continental shelf increased from 31 000 km2 in 1978 to 183 000 km2 in 1988 and then shrank to 83 000 km2 in 1992, as a function of the spawning population size. The egg distribution density in the coastal waters stayed less than 6000 m−2 mo−1, but it reached as high as 27 400 m−2 mo−1 in the expanded spawning ground in the oceanic waters. The oceanic waters seemed to function as a reserve spawning ground for the sardine in years of extremely high spawning population.

Keywords: coastal waters; egg density; oceanic spawning; sardine; spawning ground

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164, Japan, 2: National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, 2-12-4 Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama 236, Japan

Publication date: March 1, 1997


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