Interannual variability in growth of walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, in the central Bering Sea

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Abstract:

Interannual variability in growth of walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, was examined. Adult walleye pollock were collected from the central Bering Sea (Aleutian Basin) from 1978 to 1999. Average fork lengths were found to be approximately 47 cm during the 1970–80s, this increased to 56 cm in the late 1990s. Age was determined for 4805 individuals using the otolith break and burn method. Ages ranged from 5–23 years and the year classes of 1978 and 1989 were dominant in the 1980s and the 1990s, respectively. Fish had significantly larger length-at-age in the 1990s compared to the 1970–80s, and interannual variability in age–length relationship was clearly observed. Taking into consideration a recent decrease of the walleye pollock biomass in the central Bering Sea, density-dependent growth was supported as one possibility of the growth variability. At the same time, we could not rule out the possibility that oceanographic variability affected the growth of walleye pollock in the area.

Keywords: Age–length relationship; SST; growth; sea ice; walleye pollock

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute, 116 Katurakoi, Kushiro, Hokkaido, 085–0802, Japan 2: Hokkaido University, 3-1-1 Minato-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido, 041–8611, Japan

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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