Bluefish eggs and larvae were collected in the Northeast Continental Shelf Ecosystem (NCSE) from 1977 through 1987 as part of a fisheries ecosystem study designed to establish baselines against which changes in species composition and diversity could be observed and evaluated. Spawning
began as early as May when eggs and larvae occurred off Cape Hatteras, advanced northward with time, peaked in July when eggs and larvae occurred as far north as Cape Cod, and ended in late August. Unlike earlier studies that argue for multiple and distinct spawning seasons, this II-year study
concludes that spawning in the NCSE represents the continuation of a protracted season that begins in late winter in slope waters off the southeastern United States and progresses northward with time. Results add to a growing block of evidence that supports a unit stock designation for the
bluefish population along the east coast of the United States.
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