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Trophodynamic modeling of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in the Doto area, northern Japan: model description and baseline simulations

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An age-structured trophodynamic model was constructed to quantitatively analyze factors affecting post-settlement mortality and growth of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in the Doto area, the main nursery ground of the Japan Pacific population. The model included (i) multiple age classes of pollock, (ii) a generic predator, (iii) fisheries, and (iv) major prey of pollock. Major processes considered were (i) recruitment, (ii) bottom-up control of somatic growth, (iii) mortality because of predation, cannibalism and fishing, (iv) size-selective prey selection, (v) temperature-dependent bioenergetics such as conversion efficiency and daily consumption rate, and (vi) production and advective supply of prey. By assuming that pollock select prey based upon both relative abundance and predator–prey size relationships, the model accurately simulated seasonal and ontogenetic variations in the diet. However considering ontogenetic segregation, the model showed that, due to cannibalism, newly recruited fish would be totally consumed within 6 months after settlement. By considering segregation (10% overlap during spring and 0.1% during other seasons), an agreement of diet between the simulation and empirical data averaged 82.7% for the different seasons and fish sizes. Euphausiids, the most important prey of pollock, suffered the highest predation impact (22.2 ± 5.3 WWg m−2 yr−1) exceeding annual production in the model domain (17.2 ± 0.1 WWg m−2 yr−1), indicating that an advective supply of prey is necessary to support the pollock population. The daily ration of pollock during spring and summer averaged at 1.2 and 0.6% BW day−1 for small (≤200 mm) and large (>200 mm) pollock, respectively; this daily ration was reduced by half during autumn and winter.
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Keywords: bioenergetics; cannibalism; predator–prey size relationship; prey selection

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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