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Interannual variability in hatching period and early growth of juvenile walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, in the Pacific coastal area of Hokkaido

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Juvenile walleye pollock of the Japanese Pacific population were collected from the Funka Bay [spawning ground; 16–64 mm fork length (FL)] in spring and the Doto area (nursery ground; 70–146 mm FL) in summer. Hatch dates were estimated by subtracting the number of otolith daily increments from sampling dates, and their early growth was back-calculated using otolith radius–somatic length relationships. Interannual change of the hatching period was observed during 2000–02, and the peaks ranged from mid-February in 2000 to early-April in 2002. In 2000, when a strong year class occurred, early life history of the surviving juveniles could be characterized by early hatching and slower growth in the larval stage (<22 mm length). Higher growth rate in 2001 and 2002 did not always lead to good survival and recruitment success. Even though their growth was slow in 2000, the larvae hatched early in the season had larger body size on a given date than faster-growing larvae hatched in later season in 2001 and 2002. Bigger individuals at a certain moment may have advantage for survival. The delay of hatching period may result in higher size-selective mortality, and as a necessary consequence, back-calculated growth in 2001 and 2002 could shift towards higher growth rate, although abundance of such a year class would be at the lower level. Variability in spawning period, early growth and their interaction might have a strong relation to larval survival through cumulative predation pressure or ontogenetic changes in food availability.
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Keywords: Hokkaido; fish larva; growth; hatching period; mortality; otolith; recruitment; walleye pollock

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute, 116 Katsurakoi, Kushiro, Hokkaido 085-0802, Japan 2: Hokkaido Mariculture Fisheries Experimental Station, Funami-cho, Muroran, Hokkaido 051-0013, Japan 3: Hokkaido Central Fisheries Experimental Station, Hamanaka, Yoichi, Hokkaido 046-8555, Japan 4: Hokkaido Hakodate Fisheries Experimental Station, Yunokawa, Hakodate, Hokkaido 042-0932, Japan

Publication date: 01 May 2007

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