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Fishery dynamics of blue whiting, Micromesistius poutassou, a highly discarded bycatch species in the NW Mediterranean Sea
Joan Mir-Arguimbau, Paloma Martín, Marc Balcells, Joan Sala-Coromina, Ana Sabatés

This study characterized the fishery dynamics of blue whiting, a bycatch species of the bottom trawl Norway lobster fishery, in the NW Mediterranean. Landings and effort data over the last two decades were combined with current information on the spatial distribution of effort and catch, and with the size and age structure of blue whiting over the year. Recruitment to the demersal habitat occurred from 5 cm total length (TL) over the shelf break in spring (April-May), when discards showed the highest values (>95% of the catch). Adults were located over the upper slope, and large individuals (≥26 cm TL) were abundant during the reproductive period (January-March). A decline in landings has been observed in the last decade, probably related to the absence of intense deep convection processes in winter since 2013, which favour recruitment of the species. The effect of exploitation on the decrease in landings cannot be disregarded considering that the bulk of the catch is made up of immature (age 0) individuals, and the presence of old individuals is very low.

Keywords: discards; recruitment; population dynamics; landings; age structure
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 86(1) : 25-25 Back PDF
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