Persistent growth effects of temperature and photoperiod in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua

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Short-term environmental manipulations during the early juvenile stage have a large impact on harvesting size of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua nearly 3 years later. A group of juvenile Atlantic cod (initial mass 9·5 g) were reared for 3 months under simulated natural photoperiod or continuous light, and a range of temperatures (7, 10, 13 and 16° C, and a group called T-step, i.e. with temperature reduced successively from 16 to 13 and 10° C). After termination of the laboratory trial, the fish were moved to sea pens and reared at ambient conditions for 30 months before harvesting in June 2006. Observed growth gain from the 3 month laboratory trial was still persistent following the 30 months of sea-pen ongrowing. The T-step group displayed 15, 13, 1 and 10% superior mass gain respectively than the groups initially at 7, 10, 13 and 16° C at harvest in June 2006. Similarly, rearing under continuous light during the initial 3 month period during the early juvenile stage resulted in 1–9% larger size at harvesting compared to fish reared at simulated natural photoperiod. Gonado-somatic and hepato-somatic indices were similar in all groups. Contribution to the understanding of the mechanism behind size variation in adult fish can have wide range applications for Atlantic cod fisheries and aquaculture.

Keywords: Atlantic cod; environmental manipulation; global warming; growth; long-term effects; maturation

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Akvaplan-niva Bergen, Pb. 2026 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway 2: Department of Biology, University of Bergen, High Technology Centre, 5020 Bergen, Norway 3: Marine Harvest Norway AS, Sandviksboder 78A, 5835 Bergen, Norway

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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