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Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from cold and warm environments differ in their maximum growth capacity at low temperatures

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Maximum growth rate of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) was determined at a range of temperatures representative of cod benthic habitats (1–13°C) using wild animals obtained from a cold environment (southern Gulf of St. Lawrence stock, SG) and a mild environment (Bay of Fundy stock, BF). SG cod performed well over a broader range of temperatures than BF cod. Growth in mass was greater for SG than BF cod at any temperature below 7°C. SG cod consumed twice as much food as BF cod at 1 and 3°C. At 1°C, growth in mass was positive for SG cod but negative for BFcod, whereas growth in length did not differ from 0 for both SG and BF cod. Liver size represented a larger proportion of body mass in SG cod at both low and high temperatures, and citrate synthase activity in the intestine exhibited a strong inverse relationship to temperature. The maximum growth capacity of SG cod was comparable with that of cod of similar size in various other stocks in the Atlantic. These observations are not consistent with the view that intensive size-selective fishing practices have resulted in a significant loss of innate growth capacity in SG cod.

La taux de croissance maximum de morues franches sauvages provenant d’un milieu froid (stock du sud du Golfe Saint-Laurent, SG) et d’un milieu tempéré (stock de la Baie de Fundy, BF) a été déterminé à des températures représentatives des habitats benthiques de la morue (1–13 °C). SG a connu une bonne croissance sur une plus large gamme de températures. Sous les 7 °C, la croissance en masse de SG a été supérieure à celle de BF. SG a consommé deux fois plus de nourriture que BF à 1 et 3 °C. À 1 °C, la croissance en masse a été positive pour SG et négative pour BF aors que la croissance en longueur a été nulle pour les poissons des deux stocks. Chez SG, la masse du foie représentait une plus forte proportion de la masse du poisson, tant aux basses qu’aux hautes températures, et l’activité de la citrate synthase dans l’intestin a nettement augmenté à basse température. La capacité de croissance maximale des morues de SG est comparable à celle des autres stocks de l’Atlantique. Ces résultats vont à l’encontre de la thèse voulant qu’une exploitation intensive et sélective des individus à forte croissance ait résulté en une réduction de la capacité innée de croissance des morues du sud du Golfe Saint-Laurent.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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