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The link between migration, the reproductive cycle and condition of Sardinella aurita off Mauritania, north-west Africa

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The annual migration pattern of round sardinella Sardinella aurita up and down the north-western African coast between 12° N (Senegal) and 22° N (western Sahara) was shown to be associated with spawning activity and a distinct seasonality in fish condition, based on monthly sampling from commercial catches (2000–2003). Some S. aurita were found to spawn throughout the entire year, but a peak in spawning existed during the summer (June to September). The spawning cycle is apparent from seasonality in maturity stages, but is also demonstrated by the increase in gonad mass and fat content of the fish in springtime, the period preceding spawning. During the months after spawning, although feeding is maintained, the physical condition of the fish collapses, and fat content rapidly declines.

Keywords: Mauritania; migration; sardinella; seasonality; small pelagic fish; spawning

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Wageningen IMARES, P. O. Box 68, 1970 AB IJmuiden, The Netherlands 2: FRESH Studio Innovations Asia Ltd, 51a, Nguyen Khac Hieu, Truc Bach, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam 3: IMROP-Cansado, B.P. 22, Nouadhibou, Mauritania

Publication date: November 1, 2007


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