A spatial model of population dynamics of the early life stages of Japanese sardine, Sardinops melanostictus, off the Pacific coast of Japan
We constructed a numerical model reproducing the transport, survival and individual growth of the early life stages of Japanese sardine, Sardinops melanostictus, off the Pacific coast of Japan during 1978–93. The causes of early life stage mortality, including the influence of the effects of the spatial relationship between the spawning grounds and the Kuroshio on the mortality rate, were investigated. Survival and transport from egg stage to 60 days after spawning were modelled daily in a 1 × 1 degree mesh cell and individual growth in the period was modelled in each region (Kuroshio, Inshore, Offshore and Transition regions). Individual growth and survival from 60 to 180 days after spawning were modelled daily in the Transition region. Environmental data were taken from outside the model system. Our simulation indicates that survival variability in the larval stage (5–25 mm in standard length) is the key factor in determining the year-class strength. The simulation revealed that strong year classes occurred with good survival in the spawning ground and whilst entrained in the Kuroshio current being transported to the main feeding grounds in the Transition region. The simulation also indicated that survival rates in 1988–93 were low in the Inshore, Kuroshio and Offshore regions, which depressed the year-class strength during that period.