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Environmental and biological monitoring for forecasting anchovy recruitment in the southern Benguela upwelling region

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Environmental and biological sampling and monitoring have been carried out in the southern Benguela since 1988. The overall goal of this research is to investigate environmental factors affecting anchovy recruitment and to develop the ability to forecast anchovy recruitment from year-to-year using field data obtained during the spawning season (August to March). Sampling was conducted at three different temporal and spatial scales: during annual (November) broad-scale hydro-acoustic surveys to determine spawner biomass on the entire spawning ground and in the core transport and recruitment areas; during monthly surveys in the core spawning, transport and recruitment regions over two entire spawning seasons (1993/94 and 1994/95); and during weekly sampling (since 1995) along a single transect downstream from the spawning area. Annual surveys provide the best spatial coverage, but are inadequate for representing environmental conditions and anchovy spawning success over a prolonged season. Weekly sampling provides the best temporal coverage, but logistical constraints restrict information to a limited portion of the spawning area and a reduced number of variables. Monthly surveys provide intermediate coverage in time and space, but are expensive and labour-intensive. Forecasting anchovy recruitment has been based on two different approaches: the establishment of empirical relationships, and the development of rule-based expert systems. Forecasts from deterministic expert systems have compared well with final estimates of recruitment strength, and indicate that environmental and biological variables may be used in a structured way to forecast anchovy recruitment.

Keywords: anchovy; environmental factors; forecasting; monitoring; recruitment; southern Benguela

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Private Bag X2, Rogge Bay 8012, Cape Town, South Africa, 2: Benguela Ecology Programme, Marine Biology Research Institute, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa

Publication date: 1998-12-01

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