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Depth distribution and biological characteristics of the European eel Anguilla anguilla in Lough Ennell, Ireland

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Abstract:

Using a longline survey, a total of 196 European eels Anguilla anguilla were collected at different depths in Lough Ennell (maximum depth 30 m), central Ireland. The catch per unit of effort of A. anguilla that were caught from 1 to 25 m depths was lowest at 0·5–5·0 m and greatest at the deepest depth range (22·5–25·0 m). Sub-samples of A. anguilla from depths of <15 m showed little or no difference in size, sex ratio, age, growth rate, condition factor, length–mass relationship, gonado-somatic index, fin index or eye index with fish from depths of >15 m. All fish examined were female yellow-phase A. anguilla that had ages from 7 to 20 years (mean ±s.d. = 10·3 ± 2·9 years), with growth rates from 24·0–60·8 mm year−1 (mean ±s.d. = 40·7 ± 8·5 mm year−1). Variations in the growth rates were greater in the shallow group than that of the deep group. This study suggested that deeper regions are important feeding habitats for A. anguilla and that fish in this lake were growing moderately fast compared to similar habitats and areas in the species’ range.

Keywords: CPUE; age and growth; body size; longline; yellow phase

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.02167.x

Affiliations: 1: Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan 2: Department of Zoology, National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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