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Long-term stock assessment and growth changes of the Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus) in the Sea of Japan and East China Sea from 1953 to 2006

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We estimated the stock size of Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus) in the Sea of Japan and East China Sea since 1953 using cohort analysis based on the changes of growth patterns. Growth of Japanese sardine, estimated by using annual rings on archived scales since 1961, showed that body lengths were extremely stunted in the 1980–1987 year-classes. The body length at age 3 from February to April in the 1980–1987 year-classes, a period when the stock size exceeded 4 million tons, was 180.0 ± 2.6 mm (mean ± SD), and in the other year-classes was 195.1 ± 7.6 mm. The body length at age 3 and wet weight of zooplankton in August in the offshore area of the Sea of Japan had a significantly positive correlation. We assumed three scenarios for maturation ratios, and estimated Ricker’s spawner–recruitment relationships. We analyzed the correlations between logarithmic recruitment residuals (LNRR) and environmental factors in winter, represented by the North Pacific index (NPI), Aleutian low pressure index (ALPI), Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), monsoon index (MOI), Arctic oscillation (AO) and Southern oscillation index (SOI). Significant correlations were observed between MOI and LNRR and between AO and LNRR. A combination of strong MOI and weak AO would increase the biomass of phytoplankton and zooplankton and subsequently increase the recruitment of Japanese sardine.
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Keywords: growth change; recruitment; spawning stock;  cohort analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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