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The potential for advective exchange of the early life stages between the western and eastern Baltic cod (Gadus morhua L.) stocks

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Abstract:

In order to clarify mechanisms influencing the reproductive success of Baltic cod (Gadus morhua L.), a modelling exercise was performed to examine the effects of the wind-driven circulation on the transport of early life stages between the western and eastern Baltic. Because the different stocks spawn in different areas and environments at different times of the year, the occurrence of variable age/length distributions of juveniles within the different potential nursery areas can be explained by the circulation pattern. A three-dimensional circulation model of the Baltic was utilized to investigate the temporal evolution of egg and larval distributions of the western Baltic cod stock, which spawns preferentially in the Danish Straits, in Kiel Bay as well as in Mecklenburg Bay. For different scenarios (1988 and 1993), within- and between-year variability of egg and larval transport showed large differences, primarily due to variations in wind forcing. In 1988, relatively low and variable wind forcing prevailed, whereas, due to sustained strong, mainly westerly, winds, in January 1993, the recent major Baltic inflow to the Baltic Sea occurred. Differences in contributions of early life stages from the western to the eastern cod stocks, depending on the physical forcing conditions, suggest that this process can be controlled by variations of atmospheric forcing conditions. The potential for early life stages from the western Baltic cod stock to drift into the Arkona Basin and the Bornholm Basin, and to contribute there to the juvenile population, has been recognized as being mainly due to strong westerly winds. During cold winters, retention of eggs, larvae and juveniles within their original spawning grounds may predominate. Transport of cod early life stages from the Øresund, as well as from the Great Belt, can occur only during periods of strong westerly winds, but significant eastwards orientated drift from Kiel Bay and Mecklenburg Bay was also evident during periods of minor westerly wind influence.

Keywords: Baltic cod; advective exchange; early life stages; otoliths

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2419.2001.00173.x

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Meereskunde, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany 2: Bundesforschungsanstalt für Fischerei, An der Jägerbek 2, D-18069 Rostock, Germany

Publication date: September 1, 2001

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