Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8863
Title: Spatial growth variability in marine fish: example from northeast Pacific groundfish
Author: V. V. Gertseva, Sean E. Matson, Jason M. Cope
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: ICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume: 74
Issue: 6
Pages: 1602-1613
Keywords: Northeast Pacific Ocean, groundfish, von Bertalanffy growth parameters, latitudinal variability, environmental effect, upwelling, Jamess rule,

Marine fish populations exist in a complex environment, with oceanographic and fisheries factors affecting their dynamics.  It has been shown that life history characteristics of marine fish vary in space and time. We examined spatial variability in growth of eight groundfish species in the northeast Pacific Ocean to identify shared spatial patterns and hypothesize about common mechanisms behind them. Growth parameters were estimated in different areas over the latitudinal range of the species and several hypotheses were tested as to how these parameters vary along the U.S. West Coast. Clear differences in spatial growth variability emerged among the species examined. Shelf species exhibit the highest growth rate between Cape Blanco and Cape Mendocino, which may in part be attributed to area-specific upwelling patterns in the California Current ecosystem, when nutrient rich deep water are brought to the surface southward of Cape Blanco and are uniquely distributed throughout this area, providing favorable conditions for primary productivity. Slope species showed a cline in asymptotic size (Linf), with Linf  increasing from south to north. This cline, previously attributed to fishery removals, also fits a specific case of the widely described Bergmann’s rule, and we explore specific potential ecological mechanisms behind this relationship.

Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Provide scientific support for the implementation of ecosystem-based management